‘I have not claimed victory and cannot concede defeat’ – Granger
In wake of calls, both locally and internationally, for President David Granger to concede defeat in the March 02, 2020 elections, he has responded to commentators saying he will not do so unless he is notified that he has lost the polls by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
His comments come days after Campaign Manager for the APNU+AFC coalition Joseph Harmon also rebuffed calls for Granger to accept defeat.
It was Harmon and other senior coalition members who have also claimed victory repeatedly in the elections in the absence of a declaration from GECOM and with figures from a national recount showing a victory for the opposition People’s Progressive Party.
But while the President has inadvertently offered his support to Harmon that he will not concede, he now says that he has never claimed victory in the elections.
“I cannot claim victory, which I have not done and I cannot concede defeat which I have not done unless I am notified formally by the Chairman of the Election Commission what the results of the elections of March 02, 2020 is… I don’t know what the election commission will declare,” Granger told reporters at the sidelines of an event Wednesday at State House.
He added, “Like all Guyanese, we’ve been subject to various reports, but the only authentic report will come from the Chairman of the Election Commission to me and that has not happened. In that regard, I encourage all the spokespersons and commentators to wait patiently on the Chairman of the Elections Commission who when she is ready, will make a declaration and I said before I’ll abide by that declaration,” the President added.
Currently, the incumbent APNU+AFC and the PPP are locked in a struggle about which party won the elections.
The PPP has always maintained it won the elections and had pushed for a recount to be conducted after it suspected that Clairmont Mingo, acting as the Returning Officer for District #4, inflated numbers to hand the coalition a victory.
The national recount figures show that the PPP won those elections by over 15,000 votes but the APNU+AFC now claims that the PPP secured its votes through election fraud via ghost voting and voter impersonation.
The coalition claims that the March elections were marred with anomalies and irregularities and wanted the polls annulled although the CARICOM Scrutinizing Team found that the results from the recount were completely acceptable.
The team said in its report that the flaws uncovered do not amount to an indictment on the March polls and urged that the results be declared based on the recount figures.
The GECOM Chair, former Judge Claudette Singh had seemingly accepted this advice when she later instructed the Chief Elections Officer to present his report to reflect the recount figures which points to a victory for the PPP.
Instead, Lowenfield presented another report and invalidated some 115,000 votes to give the APNU+AFC a one-seat parliamentary majority victory.
The Chair has not said what she will do with this report as GECOM awaits the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice in the matter.
Asked for his response to persons who claim that he is ignoring CARICOM’s endorsement of the recount and for the declaration to be made on the basis of the recount figures, Granger said he has taken note of the recommendations of the report.
“The CEO has a responsibility to make note of the legitimate observations, which have been made and present those observations to the Commission. But as far as my citation is concerned, I read from the recommendations of the CARICOM report.”
The President seemed to be avoiding the other parts of the report which insists that the elections were credible despite minor flaws. It was Granger who had previously said that CARICOM was the most legitimate interlocutor.
“If you want, you can double-check on the recommendations of the CARICOM report and you’ll see my words faithfully represent theirs. Those words didn’t come from the sky. They are in the recommendations.”
He said the CARICOM report is only one part of the process as he talked up the report of the CEO which will constitutionally form the basis on which a declaration is to be made.