Respected Caribbean scholars and practitioners; W. Andy Knight and Winston Dookeran, on Friday, joined the mounting calls for Guyana’s President David Granger, Leader of the APNU/AFC Coalition, to immediately concede defeat and allow for a smooth transition of government so that the country can get on with its development efforts.
Knight is Acting Chair of the Department of Political Science and Professor of International Relations at the University of Alberta, and Dookeran is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Trinidad and Tobago government.
In an opinion piece published by The Caribbean Camera on Friday, Knight and Dookeran expressed that from all the evidence gathered thus far, it is clear that the incumbent APNU/AFC was defeated at the March 2, polls and should do “the right and honourable thing” to ensure that democratic governance is preserved in Guyana.
“We urge the coalition government of the APNU + AFC to do the right and honourable thing and concede defeat in this election. We urge President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo to promptly recognise the PPP/C as the winner in this hard fought and tightly contested election, and congratulate Dr. Irfaan Ali as the new President, and Brigadier Gen. (Ret’d) Mark A. Phillips as the new Prime Minister in a PPP/C government,” the scholars said.
The authors noted that there is no reason to doubt the “consensus opinion and veracity” of the CARICOM Observer Team, the OAS, the Commonwealth Observation Mission, the Carter Center, the embassies and Ambassadors of European Union, and the United States, the High Commissioners from Canada and the United Kingdom, representatives from Norway, the Elders Group, and the ABCE foreign powers. Several independent bodies in Guyana, including the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the Private Sector Commission, and even partners within the APNU + AFC coalition itself have determined that the 2020 election was free and fair, and that the recount was credible.
“All of these observers can’t be wrong,” they argued, adding that the election itself was “perhaps one of the most outstanding, credible and well-run elections” ever witnessed.
“It should be noted that both the election day tally and the result of the recount, supervised closely by a high level three member CARICOM team led by UWI professor Cynthia Barrow-Giles, completed on June 8 last, showed that the PPP/C had indeed won the most votes in a tight contest.
“Yet, even after saying that he would abide by the results of the recount, President Granger has not conceded defeat nor acknowledged the outcome of the recount”.
The scholars detailed that it was only after the APNU+AFC realised it was losing the election did its representatives begin to complain about “irregularities” and “fraudulent votes” being cast.
The National Recount had shown that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won 233,336 votes while the APNU/AFC garnered 217,920.
A number of persons have been calling on Granger to concede, from political analysts to powerful politicians in Washington.
It was only last Friday that Chairman of the United States’ Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, Marco Rubio, wrote a missive urging Granger to concede.
Rubio was joined in his statement by Senators Jim Risch and Bob Menendez, Chairman and ranking member respectively, of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; as well as Ben Cardin, in encouraging Guyanese authorities “to begin a democratic transition of power that reflects the results of the March 2nd General and Regional Elections”.
Coalition partner Justice For All Party (JFAP) founder CN Sharma, also broke away from APNU/AFC’s dogged refusal to accept defeat and in a statement, he made it clear that “enough was enough” and it was time for the country to move on.
Granger’s own son-in-law, former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, also made a statement on the same day as Sharma, in which he conceded that APNU/AFC lost to the PPP/C and called out his party’s leadership for “fooling” its supporters.
During a recent interview on a radio programme, Coalition Campaign Manager and former Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, who purported to speak on Granger’s behalf, said that the President has no need to and will not concede to the winner of the elections.