By Mikaila Prince
Former President Donald Ramotar is calling for de facto President David Granger to concede to losing of the March 2, General and Regional Elections, and to pave the way for the wellbeing and success of the entire nation.
During an interview with Kaieteur Radio’s Room 592 programme last Friday, Ramotar – who lost a second term bid to Granger in 2015 – lamented over the electoral impasse which the country has been caught in for over 100 days, along with the grave impact that that has imposed its citizens.
“Our country is suffering tremendously,” Ramotar said, “and people are hurting, businesses are hurting. He (President Granger) has a direct link to the current political state of the country and he can play a role by conceding that the APNU+AFC have lost the elections for us to have a civilized and peaceful transition.”
Calls for a declaration to be made on the results of the recount continue to mount. Last week, four influential senators on the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee just days ago called on Granger to concede. In support of the CARICOM team’s findings, calls for a declaration to be made on the results of the recount have also come in a joint statement from the diplomats representing America, Britain, Canada, and the European Union. These were followed closely by similar statements from the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, the Kingdom of Norway, and Nelson Mandela’s Elders Group. Locally, calls for Granger to concede came from several religious organizations, including the Arya Samaj community and the Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
“I want Mr. Granger to think about the harm they, the APNU+AFC, are doing to the country by the resistance that they are putting up,” Ramotar said.
Ramotar pointed back to 2015, when the party he led, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), had lost the 2015 general and regional elections by some 5,000 votes. Even as he maintains that those elections were “rigged”, Ramotar nonetheless, took the opportunity to reflect on the importance of him conceding to his party’s loss.
“I know of the impact and harm that some of these things can have on a country,” Ramotar said, “We have seen it in the past with other elections, as well as the way the citizens of the country suffered as a result of it. So, in 2015 when the elections commission announced the election results, I thought that it was more important for the country to move forward, than for me to fight and to just stay in power like that.”
He went on to say that following the declarations he “immediately” held his last meeting with Cabinet where he asked his ministers to cooperate with the winning coalition so that they could have a “smooth transition” into government.
Against this he said, “We even set up a small team to work with the APNU+AFC for a smooth transition towards a new government and not to have any type of disruption. I asked my ministers at that last meeting to make themselves available for any questions, as the APNU+AFC may have and to pass over some of the unfinished business that we were doing. I asked them to return their cars and whatever property.”
Ramotar is of the view that the Coalition has lost all of its regional and international support, as he referenced stern statements that were issued onto them from regional and international bodies like CARICOM, the United States and the European Union.
“If they are mad enough not to concede, then the consequences will be severe. They can face penalties and sanctions, and it could be devastating,” he warned.
Noticeably, a Washington-based political consultant, José Cárdenas told reporters on Saturday that he thinks Granger will do the right thing and demit office, to avoid sanctions from the US. However, APNU+AFC campaign manager Joseph Harmon was quick to dismiss all of those statements in his interview on Sunday on Linden radio station 104.3 Power FM.
“Concede to what?” Harmon asked, “Concede to who? What is he to concede to? It appears to me, I’ll venture to say any right thinking person, to be a most ridiculous and nonsensical proposition.”
Harmon said that calls for Granger to admit defeat are coming from “a narrative which has been overtaken by time… in view of a report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer to the Guyana Elections Commission…”
Notably, Harmon’s comments are the first response from an executive of the Coalition to the numerous calls which have been made for Granger to admit his loss.
“Go on the side of democracy and concede,” Ramotar appealed directly to Granger in the interview.
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