– say “complaints of irregularities, fraudulent votes came after Coalition realized they lost”
With Guyana’s electoral process still incomplete after 121 days, nine Caribbean Scholars have added their voice to calls for de facto President David Granger to concede to his lost at the March 2, 2020 Elections, demit office and allow the smooth transition of the next government. By virtue of gaining more votes, based on a national recount, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) with Dr. Irfaan Ali as its Presidential Candidate is poised for victory.
That lost, according to the nine Scholars, is what led the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition to form baseless allegations of “irregularities” and “fraudulent votes” in an attempt to discredit the March 2 polls and undermine Guyana’s democratic process.
The Caribbean Scholars: Dr. W. Andy Knight of University of Alberta; Dr. Faeis Jafar, of University of West Indies; Dr. E. J. Persaud of State University of New York; Dr. Horace Bartilow of University of Kentucky; Mr. Winston Dookeran, Author/former Deputy Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago; Dr. Prem Podar of Roskilde University, Denmark; Dr. Percy Hintzen of Florida International University; Dr. Tarron Khemraj of University of South Florida and Dr. Clarence Lusane of Howard University, said in their statement that “Guyana’s March 2 polls was one of the most outstanding, credible and well-run elections ever witnessed by most of the election observers.”
“The election process was a cumbersome one,” they pointed out “but commendably thorough, and every election observer, including those from the two main political parties, were impressed by the calibre and commitment of the polling stations’ staff, and by the relatively smooth way in which the entire election was handled.”
At the end of the electoral process, including a National Recount of the votes cast, the tabulation revealed that 460,352 valid votes were cast in the General Election, with the PPP securing 233,336 votes and the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition receiving 217,920 votes. Based on the certified results of the polls, the PPP with 50.69% of the votes would have 33 seats in Parliament and the APNU + AFC with 47.34% would have 31 seats, while the remainder went to the tri-party joinder of A New and United Guyana, The Liberty and Justice Party, and The New Movement.
Those figures, which show a win for the Opposition, the Scholars stated, the APNU+AFC “fraudulently attempted” to change, “after they were unhappy with the results”.
“We note that only after the APNU+AFC realized it was losing the election did its representatives begin to complain about “irregularities” and “fraudulent votes” being cast. Attempts were made to disenfranchise a large number of voters through allegations of voting violations that have not been substantiated,” they said.
This led to a host of regional and international stakeholders putting on record their observances of the process, including Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister of Barbados and the Head of the Commonwealth Observer Team, Mia Motely, Prime Minister of Barbados and CARICOM Chair; Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; The Carter Centre, along with the Organization of American States Observation Mission, among others.
Mention was made of the report containing the summation of observations from the recount submitted by Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, where he pointed to claims of breaches in polling procedures and alleged voter impersonation – with no concrete evidence being submitted to support the claims.
The alleged violations, the Scholars pointed out, are of the sort that should have been caught by scrutineers of all the political parties present during the voting process and the tabulation of the votes.
Against that backdrop, the Caribbean Scholars urged the Coalition Government “to do the right and honourable thing and concede defeat in this election.”
“We urge President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo to promptly recognize the PPP/C as the winner in this hard fought and tightly contested election, and congratulate Dr. Irfaan Ali as the new President, and Brigadier Gen. (Ret’d) Mark A. Phillips as the new Prime Minister in a PPP/C government. It is in the interest of all Guyanese that the APNU+AFC facilitate a smooth transition without further delay in order to uphold and preserve democratic governance in this wonderful country,” the Scholars added.
“There is no reason,” they stated, “to doubt the consensus opinion and veracity of the CARICOM Observer Team, the OAS, the Commonwealth Observation Mission, the Carter Center, the Embassies and Ambassadors of Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, and the United States. Several independent bodies in Guyana, including the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the Guyana Bar Association, and even partners within the APNU + AFC Coalition itself have determined that the 2020 Election was free and fair, and that the recount was credible.”
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