Caretaker President David Granger has switched gear again, shifting from a position he outlined a few weeks ago that he would accept “any declaration made by the GECOM Chairman” to one in which he is now saying that he “would abide by any declaration that the Chairman makes in keeping with the Laws of Guyana.”
GECOM Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh had ordered Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to prepare his report for final declaration using the certified recount results which show that the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has won the elections with in excess of 15,000 votes more than Granger’s incumbent APNU/AFC Coalition.
On several occasions before, Granger had said that he has never interfered and will never interfere with the work of the Elections Commission since it’s an independent constitutional body, and he would abide by any declaration made by the GECOM Chairperson.
However, now that the national recount has confirmed that the PPP/C has emerged as the winner of the March 2 polls, Granger’s Coalition is now engaged in a relentless push to discredit the recount process and to revert to the March 13 declarations made by the ten Returning Officers.
The March 13 declarations include the fraudulent figures by District Four Returning Officer Claimont Mingo. His declaration was proven to be false during the recount process as it included heavily inflated numbers in favour of Granger’s APNU/AFC Coalition.
In any case, the GECOM Chair, during Monday’s Commission meeting, set aside those declarations by the ten Returning Officers. This means that the only valid results standing are those from the national recount.
Further, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) endorsed the national recount which was agreed to by the President and Leader of the Opposition, following the huge controversy over Mingo’s discredited declaration.
“We are very confident that the law is on our side. A lot of people in other countries have been relying on the recount but the Caribbean Court of Justice has been very clear about the validity of the recount,” Granger had recently told supporters outside of State House.
The CCJ, in its clear, definitive decisions handed down, said the recount results must be used as the basis for Lowenfield’s final report and it is for GECOM to ensure that the CEO complies with this directive.
Over the weekend Lowenfield, in clear defiance of the CCJ’s ruling, presented a report for declaration which included Mingo’s fraudulent figures and which showed a false victory for the APNU/ AFC Coalition.
However, on Monday that report was refused by the Chairman who then directed the CEO to present another report the following day, based on the Certificates of Recount generated from the recount.
Lowenfield has since refused to carry out the Chairman’s directive.
On Tuesday, another crucial meeting of the Commission was postponed following a move to the Court by APNU/AFC supporter, Misenga Jones who is seeking to block GECOM from making a declaration using the credible recount results.
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George is currently holding the first hearing in the case.