Dialogue with APNU/AFC ‘squatters’ before poll declaration will set bad precedent – Nandlall

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PPPC’s Anil Nandlall

The APNU/AFC Coalition which is currently unlawfully ‘squatting’ in government cannot reasonably expect to have any meaningful dialogue with political stakeholders, according to former Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

Nandlall, a current Executive Member of the PPP/C, said the David Granger-led APNU/AFC Coalition must first vacate office as it has been defeated at the March 2 General and Regional Elections before any talk of dialogue is even considered.

Nandlall, during an interview programme ‘Carib Update’ on Monday, said that if the opposition parties were to agree to talk with the coalition while it still occupies the government, it would be against the democratic process and would set a bad precedent for the Caribbean and the entire world.

“If you lose an election, democracy and the rule of law demand that you vacate office, you can come and talk afterwards, but you can’t remain in office squatting, unlawfully, and then use your position in office to extract from your opponent some kind of political concession,” Nandlall asserted.

“That flies in the face of democracy as we know it, and if that precedent is ever set, I believe it will undermine the democratic process right across the world. And that is the problem here.”

According to Nandlall, while on the one hand dialogue is always “desirable” in a political impasse, what one has to be careful about on this occasion is that “you don’t be construed as rewarding bullyism, fraud thuggery, and political intimidation”.

“Because every government that loses an election now in the Caribbean and elsewhere will not want to relinquish power, unless the Opposition, who has won the election come and sit with them and they are able to extract concession.”

“That is not part of the democratic process,” Nandlall argued.

After it was clear that the APNU+AFC had lost the elections and was running out of legal and other options to hang on to power, the Coalition began to push for “dialogue” with the victorious PPP/C and other parties.

Chief Spokesperson of the Coalition, Joseph Harmon, had said: “The APNU/AFC Coalition, in the national interest, and with a view to maintaining stability and peace, remains open to dialogue with other political parties and stakeholders on the way forward for our country. The APNU+AFC Coalition is prepared to act responsibly to bring a resolution to the ongoing political situation.”

However, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) have both maintained that they are not interested in having any discussions with the APNU/AFC at this time as the Coalition must first accept defeat and allow for a smooth transition of government to the PPP/C, which has won the elections with in excess of the 15,000 votes.

“It should be noted that the ongoing political situation they claim to want resolved, is in totality again, their own doing and making. It is nothing short of dishonesty and another display of the duplicitous nature of the leadership of APNU/AFC to say they are prepared to act to resolve a situation, a situation which they have created and is within their power to resolve,” ANUG posited in its missive.

On this note, the party said that if the coalition is in fact prepared to “act responsibly”, then it should firstly concede and allow a new Government to be sworn in.

Meanwhile, the LJP echoed similar sentiments, noting that the time for dialogue was since December 22, 2018 – the day after the coalition was toppled by a No-Confidence Motion.
The party noted that the caretaker APNU/AFC has shown contempt for Guyana since then by failing to resign immediately and call elections within three months as mandated by the Constitution as well as contempt for the international community as of late by showing the utmost disrespect for anyone who points out their attempts to rig the elections while holding Guyana at ransom.

This, according to the LJP, is a clear demonstration that the coalition is disingenuous, irresponsible and duplicitous.

Additionally, The New Movement (TNM) party has argued that the leadership of the APNU/AFC is clearly not genuine and as such, it will not engage in dialogue until that party accepts its electoral loss.

Already, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that the PPP/C will not be having any dialogue with APNU/AFC before the elections declaration is made.