Campaign Manager and Executive Member of the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC), Joseph Harmon, is “sacrificing his presumptive knowledge of the law at the altar of extending political hope, where none exists”.
This is the view expressed by Anil Nandlall, a former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister under the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), in response to Harmon’s blatant refusal to accept that his coalition has been massively defeated at the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice Claudette Singh, on Tuesday, directed Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to prepare a final report, using the recount results, in keeping with Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act Chapter 1:03.
This would pave the way for the official declaration of the Election’s Results and the subsequent swearing in of PPP/C’s Dr Irfaan Ali as the ninth Executive President of Guyana.
However, hours after the Chairman’s landmark decision was handed down, Harmon, who himself is a lawyer by profession, in obvious denial, sought to create confusion amongst coalition supporters, referring to the decisions as “convoluted” and said there was a need further “interpretation”.
“The CEO cannot declare anything other than valid votes and in his determination of valid votes, we will wait to see those reports of the CEO reflected in the way those votes are tallied,” Harmon was quoted as saying by the Department of Public Information (DPI).
“There was a process of a recount which lasted for 33 days and if we were to say that work is not to be considered, even though the gazetted order requires it to be so, then we will have to see what the letter says,” Harmon also stated.
But Nandlall responded, via a Facebook post, by saying that Harmon knows full well that the Chairperson has confirmed that the electoral body has no jurisdiction to hear and determine allegations of irregular or anomalous voting as these are issues for the High Court by way of an elections petition.
“Harmon also knows full well that GECOM Chair also affirmed that GECOM has no jurisdiction to annul an election under the Constitution and the provisions of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act…that only the High Court has such a jurisdiction,” the former Attorney General posited.
“Harmon knows that as a result, the Chairperson ignored all of Lowenfield’s perverse calculations & deductions and directed him to prepare the Report under Section 96 of ROPA, based upon ONLY the BALLOTS counted and tabulated at the national recount exercise which shows true will of the electorate,” Nandlall fumed.
Many stakeholders have called on the APNU/AFC Coalition to be honest with their supporters by letting them know the true results of the elections. They have also called for the Coalition to concede defeat and begin the process that would allow for a smooth transition of government to the Irfaan-Ali PPP/C.
In total, from the recount exercise, the PPP/C garnered 233,336 votes, while the APNU/AFC secured 217,920 votes in the General Elections. In the Regional Elections, the PPP/C also won with 233,661 votes, while APNU/AFC secured 217,055 votes.
Using the Hare formula, it means the PPP/C secured 33 out of 65 seats in the National Assembly, and the APNU/AFC secured 31. The remaining one seat has been obtained by the joiner party consisting of three of the new parties – A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), and The New Movement (TNM).