Granger’s latest comments on elections ‘downright misleading’ – Jagdeo
President David Granger’s Monday night interview with Coalition supporter Mark Benschop in which he accused the Opposition of electoral fraud, among other things, has come in for harsh criticism from Leader of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Bharrat Jagdeo who believes the President has flouted his own mantra of “decency.”
Jagdeo in a Tuesday afternoon virtual briefing said the President’s comments were to a large extent “factually wrong and downright misleading.”
Jagdeo blasted the President for accusing the PPP of electoral fraud based on mere allegations by the APNU+AFC Coalition which has ignored proven instances of fraud committed by operatives within the elections commission in favour of the coalition.
“It shows that he [Granger] is delusional, out of touch and fed propaganda by his staff that he readily imbibes because he wants the same outcome, he wants to hang on to power illegally knowing that he has lost the elections… there is nothing decent about that Mr Granger,” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo was adamant that throughout the interview, the President never acknowledged that it was Clairmont Mingo acting as the Returning Officer for District #4 that was the primary source of the fraud that led to the delay in the declaration of the election results.
The certified figures from the national vote recount are at odds with numbers that were put forward by Mingo showing he inflated the votes in favour of the APNU+AFC, handing the coalition a victory.
Jagdeo said Granger also failed to acknowledge that the Country’s Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield was prepared to make a declaration on the basis of that fraudulent report from Mingo and it is the same CEO who recently provided a report which invalidates over 115,000 voters.
Granger has since endorsed this report from the CEO.
“I believe he [Lowenfield] has God-given authority because it is not in law that he has any authority to invalidate valid votes on the basis of allegations by APNU… if it was the other way around would APNU have accepted that one person could unilaterally invalidate the votes from a full quarter of persons who voted?… They would have never accepted that because there would have been trouble in the streets,” Jagdeo added.
Jagdeo said Granger seemed prepared to give “polished” support to “vile rhetoric” by APNU+AFC Campaign Manager Joseph Harmon that he would not concede defeat at the polls.
The PPP has been acknowledged as the winner of the elections by the regional and international community based on the recount figures.
Jagdeo also poured cold water on Granger’s claim that GECOM is bound to accept the report by the CEO saying that to do this would make the Commission a mere rubber stamp.
Lowenfield was instructed by the GECOM Chairman, former Judge Claudette Singh to prepare his report and calculate the Parliamentary seats based on the certified figures from the recount.
He directly flouted this instruction when he presented his report, invalidating over 115,000 votes and handing the coalition a one-seat majority victory.
“So, when Granger believes the Commission is bound to accept the report of Lowenfield he is wrong and I hope he is advised in that regard… it is not for Lowenfield to invalidate votes.”
“Is this not madness? How can you as Head of State support this arbitrary behaviour and lawlessness?” Jagdeo asked.
These arguments are among the points the PPP will be making through its attorneys when oral submissions are accepted tomorrow before the Caribbean Court of Justice in an appeal filed by the PPP.
Jagdeo said when the case wraps up Lowenfield will have to obey the instruction of the GECOM Chair and prepare his report using the recount figures which shows a victory for the PPP.