APNU+AFC accuses incoming CARICOM Chair of ‘prejudicial’ stance on elections
The incumbent APNU+AFC has now taken aim at incoming Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ralph Gonsalves, and has accused him of taking a “prejudicial” stance on Guyana’s elections.
The party’s position was made known by way of a statement posted to its official Facebook page, and that of its Campaign Manager, Joseph Harmon, on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Gonsalves, who also serves as the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) urged the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to declare the winner Guyana’s March 2 General and Regional Elections based on the figures from the recently-concluded national recount.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) – one of the International Elections Observer Missions (EOM) – has also urged CARICOM to use the data numbers from its recount to declare a winner since the process satisfied international standards for transparency and credibility.
The incoming CARICOM Chairman also issued a stern warning that the 15-member regional bloc would not tolerate the hijacking of an election in any of its member-states.
The APNU+AFC has been accused of attempting to rig the 2020 elections after two fraudulent declarations handed them a victory in early March. But the national recount has shown that the PPP won the elections by more than 15,000 votes.
With Gonsalves urging GECOM to use that data to declare a winner on the basis that the recount was credible, APNU+AFC took aim at him by highlighting that he is currently “embroiled” in an elections petition matter in his country.
The party contended too that Gonsalves “has taken a public position that is prejudicial to the integrity of the process and its eventual outcome”.
This, according to the Coalition, is because the recount process is only in its second of four stages, and therefore any pronouncement on the on it would be premature.
“The APNU+AFC is therefore concerned that as the incoming Chair of CARICOM, Dr. Gonsalves has chosen to pronounce on a process that is still ongoing, and proposes to direct a constitutional body in another CARICOM member-state, in the execution of its duties,” the statement read.
The party sought to remind Gonsalves that the current stage requires the Chief Election Officer (CEO) compiling a report to be submitted to the Elections Commission for deliberation.
A three-member CARICOM scrutineering team, which came to Guyana to oversee the recount is expected to deliver its report in the coming days.
And according to the APNU+AFC, the ongoing recount process is significant and important not only for democracy in Guyana but the wider CARICOM.
As such, the party believes that: “It is to be expected that CARICOM leaders would refrain from any actions or utterances that could undermine the legitimacy of the process and its credible conclusion”.
Last month the APNU+AFC had issued strong statements of condemnation against Head of the OAS Observer Mission, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding who highlighted in an OAS report that “transparent” efforts were made to manipulate the elections results in favour of the APNU+AFC.