Granger commits to respecting GECOM’s declaration, wants bogus votes not to be considered

- No mention of Mingo's fraudulent numbers

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By Ravin Singh

Despite committing to respecting the decision of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Presidential Candidate of the incumbent APNU+AFC David Granger is urging the electoral body not to consider “bogus votes” in the announcement of a winner of the March 2 polls.

“We are also committed to ensuring that every legitimate vote is counted. But, at the same time, we’re committed to removing the illegitimate votes. We are committed to ensuring that bogus votes that people who were not in the jurisdiction, people who have no form of identification will not be allowed to vote,” Granger said during an interview with APNU+AFC activist Mark Benschop on Benschop Radio Friday night.

During the 35-day national recount exercise at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, the Coalition made wild objections that dead and migrated persons were ticked off has having voted.

But the Coalition has not provided any evidence to support its allegations and has instead called on GECOM to investigate the claims. Persons who the party alleged were out of the country on March 2 have since made public appearances denying those claims.

Some of those persons have unstamped passports, while others revealed that they never owned a passport and therefore could not have been out of the jurisdiction at any point in time.

The Coalition has claimed that three-quarters of the 460,352 votes cast in the elections were compromised but has failed to mention the inflated figures which handed them a victory on March 5 and March 13 by Returning Officer of Region 4 Clairmont Mingo.

Additionally, Granger falsely claimed that ‘anomalies’ at the March polls led to the national recount when it was in fact complaints against Mingo’s fraudulent and fictitious numbers that led to the process.

“There is abundant evidence…that certain persons or parties or agents or elements tried to manipulate the outcome by committing some errors, well not errors, deliberately committing certain actions in order to get an outcome in their favour. And this is why we had to have our recount. Because there are instances of persons who have died or migrated, there are votes recorded in their names. There are persons who were not properly identified who voted,” Granger said.

It should be noted that the Coalition did not raise any anomalies prior to the recount and was pushing for GECOM to declare APNU+AFC the winner.

Their allegations of electoral fraud were only raised when the recount commenced on May 6.

Asked about the possibility of the elections being nullified, the one-term President said that he does not want to speculate, but that he is “committed to the Government and the people of this country.”

“I will be prepared to obey the instructions of the Elections Commission and the people of Guyana must benefit from the outcome. I am prepared to work with anybody at any time,” he said, in obvious reference to a shared governance arrangement which has been touted recently.

The President also sought to remind interested parties that the four-stage electoral process is not yet completed, and it is only when GECOM makes a declaration, then the winner will be known.

Meanwhile, the President again reiterated that should GECOM decide to use the results of the national recount to declare the PPP the winner of the elections, he will respect that outcome.

“I have said [that] I will abide by the ruling of GECOM. Whatever is announced by the Chairman, we [APNU+AFC] will abide by that. Let the Election Commission do its work.”

The seven-member Elections Commission will today (Saturday) receive a report from Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, containing a summary of the recount which shows that the PPP won the elections by more than 15,000 votes.

The Commission, after deliberating on the report, will then determine whether it should request the Chief Elections Officer to use the data compiled as the basis of a final report.

The order states that the Commission will declare the winner three days after receiving the final report from the CEO.

A March 13 declaration which handed the APNU+AFC a slim margin of victory based on fraudulent numbers by Region 4 Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo is still being held in abeyance by GECOM.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has already urged GECOM to use the results of the recount to declare a winner. So too has Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

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