‘President Granger should do the right thing and concede defeat’ – Fmr. top U.S official
The pressure continues to mount on President David Granger to concede defeat at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections with a former top United States official on Saturday urging him to “do the right thing” in the interest of the nation.
“When I see a man like President Granger – this is a man who has dedicated his life to Guyana – a better Guyana for his people – I think he has a lot of pride and in the end, I think he’ll do the right thing.
“…Whether you believe there was a problem with how the election was conducted… my humble advice…is for President David Granger to concede and on Day Two begin the process of competing freely and fairly in the next election and with an eye towards rectifying any discrepancies or problems they saw in the next election so that it doesn’t happen again,” said José R. Cárdenas, who has 30 years of experience in the Washington political process and inter-American relations.
Mr Cárdenas also served in senior positions in the U.S. Department of State, the National Security Council, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
He is now among many local and international organisations and foreign powers that have mounted calls for the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition to accept defeat at the polls.
Local and international observers, including the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, and the ABCE foreign powers have urged acceptance of the recount results which show that the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won the elections by over 15,000 votes.
The recently-concluded national 35-day recount and certification of all votes was embarked upon after Returning Officer of Guyana’s largest voting district – Region 4 – Clairmont Mingo inflated the numbers to the give the Coalition a victory at the polls.
It has been 117 days now since Guyanese went to the polls and to date no winner has been declared.
But despite President Granger previously committing to accepting the recount results, he has refused to accept defeat and has since embarked on a campaign to claim electoral fraud without providing evidence.
“I understand the situation. I think that the ruling Government has a lot of frustrations with what is taking place over the last few months and…it’s a very human reaction…to what I assume they feel to have been treated unfairly in their minds so I get that. I hope President David Granger does what is best for his country. And I think that is to understand that the people have spoken,” Mr Cárdenas told some Guyanese reporters Saturday during an interview.
The recount exercise was supervised by a high-level three-member CARICOM team which has since determined that the recount results are “completely acceptable” and that the winner should be declared.
President Granger had described the CARICOM scruitneers as the “most legitimate interlocutor” in the Guyana elections but since the CARICOM report was released, he has not addressed the media or the nation.
“I respect President Granger. I think his career, his public service is admirable but we are at a point now where I think for the good of the country he should concede and his Coalition should start immediately on Day Two and begin preparing for the next election and again organize, get your message out there and compete within a democratic umbrella for another shot at the proverbial prize,” Mr Cárdenas said.
He said the United States has “vested interest” in ensuring that “this new era is successful for the Guyanese people and that the wealth makes a real difference in people’s lives…So that Guyanese don’t have to leave their country in search of a better future and I think the potential is incredible to build a new Guyana under the oil wealth.”
According to Mr Cárdenas, the fact that it has been over 100 days since Guyanese voted and no winner has been declared is “troublesome and it generates an amount concern for the health of Guyanese democracy and also for the Guyanese people.”
He dismissed reports that comments made by CARICOM, OAS, the Commonwealth, ABCE countries and the U.S are premature and reminded that countries in the western hemisphere singed on to the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
“In that document, it says that democracy is not only the form of Government that should be in place in all countries of the hemisphere but that all countries should have an obligation to defend democracy wherever it is lacking or threatened or non-existent.
“So under that document which was signed again, one outlier may have been Cuba for obvious reasons. but the Inter-American Democratic Charter calls on all countries to be active in defending democracy.”
He reminded that the United States has unique capabilities to “discourage bad actors from undermining democratic processes.”
The Guyana Elections Commission is currently restrained from declaring the winner as the matter is now engaging the attention of Guyana’s final appellate court – the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).