Elections are simple, the party that gets the most votes wins – Political Scientist

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Peter Wickham

Regional Political Scientist, Peter Wickham has expressed that an election is “an easy contest” where the party that gets the most votes must be declared the winner.

According to him, this has always been the case, and if there is any claim of voter irregularity, this should be taken to an elections court in the form of an elections petition.

“We have rules regarding an election, we have rules going in, and the person that gets the most votes wins,” Wickham said during an interview on the programme “The Week that Was with Zerith McMillan”.

“We also have a rule that says, if someone is able to subvert that process, and if that process does not stand up to scrutiny, there is an elections court that will hear the evidence and decide which way it goes, that’s the way it has always been…in the meantime follow the rules that says the person that gets the most votes wins,” the political scientist explained.

Wickham made it clear that the CARICOM-supervised national recount has shown which party has won the March 2 General and Regional Elections and the process should come to an end so that citizens would be able to move on with their lives.

The national recount has confirmed that the PPP/C has won the March 2, polls by in excess of 15,000 votes.

Wickham challenged the incumbent APNU/AFC to explain where did Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo get his figures from, and if it is a case that he used his SOPs, he must produce them.

Wickham also blasted Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, over his recent report in which discarded over 115,000 valid votes on the basis of unsubstantiated claims of irregularities.

Wickham posited that if this is indeed the case, it is an indictment on GECOM’s part and as such the current persons involved should never be trusted to manage the country’s electoral process ever again.

“Lowenfield is part of GECOM, GECOM supervised the election, so is Lowenfield saying that he supervised an election in which 50 per cent of the votes cast should not have been cast.

“Let’s be clear, elections are supervised by GECOM, if there is a failure regarding that, it’s GECOM’s failure …they should be hanging their heads in shame to suggest that they supervised an election in which half of the people who voted should not have voted,” Wickham added.

Meanwhile, the political scientist rubbished claims that the Opposition PPP/C “paid” international lobbying groups to “influence” voters.

“You pay people to advise you regarding the correct strategy to approach during the elections. It’s clear that the PPP/C was well advised …because they have won the elections,” Wickham said.

He reminded though, it was the Coalition who paid a Washington-based lobbying firm to influence public opinion regarding the current situation it finds itself in.

“I think the problem is selective memory, intellectual dishonesty, because Aubrey Norton knows fully well the APNU/AFC party paid a substantial amount of money to influence public opinion regarding this whole situation that they have created for themselves,” Wickham said.

Wickham expressed that regional stakeholders and the wider international community have been very vocal about the political situation in Guyana because they are well aware of the many attempts to alter the results of the polls.

“The OAS, CARIOCM, Ralph Gonsalves [Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines], everyone in the region who has been commenting is commenting, not on the basis of the fact that any of them was paid, but on the fact that you have a statement of a recount supervised by an agency suggesting that the PPP/C has won, yet still the APNU/AFC is resolute not to leave office. That’s the reason why you would find all of these agencies making comments.”

“To suggest that they were paid-off is unfortunate. It’s a travesty and Prime Minister Gonsalves was right, you have a set of people who are not prepared to accept that they have been beaten in an election. People lose elections all the time, what’s the big deal?” Wickham asked.