President flays Harmon for attacks on CJ; says no talks until his gov’t is recognised
President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday maintained his strict position that his government will not engage Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, in high-level talks given the opposition’s reluctance to accept that the PPP/C was legitimately elected; the President further blasted Harmon for attacking Monday’s Chief Justice’s ruling in which Justice Roxane George upheld the legitimacy of the recount process that established the PPP as the winner of the March 02 general and regional elections.
Asked at a press conference about engagement with the Opposition, the President played a recording of Harmon following the Chief Justice’s ruling on Monday in which she dismissed the Opposition’s elections petition.
Harmon described the ruling as a clear attempt to protect what he called “the installed PPP regime” from scrutiny and from “being removed from government where they have no right being.” Dr Ali pointed to the attack, not only on the PPP government, but the judiciary also.
Asked about a possible engagement with Harmon, the President, after playing the recording, retorted: “Does that give you any indication that they (the Opposition) have any interest in working for the development of this country? Now attacking the Court, driving fear in people. I think that answers the question.”
The President noted that the APNU+AFC Opposition “refuses to accept the results of a democratic elections, refuses to recognise the elected government and refuses to sit down and work with that government for the progress of our country.”
The President welcomed the decision of the Chief Justice in dismissing an election petition filed by the Opposition which spuriously sought to challenge the constitutional and legal results of the elections.
“The decision of the Court is a testimony both to the independence of our Judiciary and the enduring strength of our democracy and especially in the manner and efficiency in which the Court conducted these hearings,” the President stated.
Even more importantly, the President said, the decision arrived at by the Court “is further evidence of the fact that as a people and a country, whatever our party-political differences may be, these differences are settled peacefully and within the rule of law under which we are all constitutionally governed.”
President Ali recommitted his administration to continue to uphold and defend the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary – which is so vital to the functioning of our democracy.
“I look forward to our Court’s continuing to recognise the efficacy of the last elections in addressing any future challenges on this matter,” the President stated.