Former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur today roasted APNU/AFC Coalition Campaign Manager, Joe Harmon, over his recent attacks on the integrity of regional leaders, saying that he (Harmon) should not be allowed to carry on in that manner.
Mr Arthur specifically called out the top coalition official over his recent comments against the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr Ralph Gonsalves – who is also the incoming Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Harmon, in response, launched a tirade against Mr Gonsalves after he would have made several comments in relation to the political situation in Guyana.
Mr Gonsalves, during a NBC Radio Programme on Wednesday said, that CARICOM will not tolerate the stealing of an election, nor will the regional bloc allow the results from the recount process to be set aside.
“I am satisfied that CARICOM will not stand by idly and watch the recount which was properly done for the results to be set aside,” Mr Gonsalves had expressed.
But Harmon responded by attacking the character of the Prime Minister accusing him of interfering in Guyana’s internal affairs.
However, Mr Owen Arthur, a former Bajan Prime Minister, during an interview on Kaieteur Radio Friday afternoon, contended that: “Mr Ralph Gonsalves is in perfectly good order” and Harmon should refrain from launching such attacks against regional heads.
“Mr Harmon thinks that he has authority to unleash vitriolic attacks on Caribbean leaders…that behaviour is not tolerable in a society that has the Charter of Civil Society, it can’t be,” Arthur fumed.
The former PM explained that there are instruments of governance on which all relationships in CARICOM as sovereign countries, are based.
“People need to understand that there are instruments of governance on which all relationships in CARICOM as sovereign countries are based,” Arthur said.
He noted that Guyana, along with other CARIOM countries, is a signatory to the Charter of Civil Society and this places an obligation on countries to ensure that they follow key democratic practices – a main element being the holding of free and fair elections.
Arthur told listeners that Guyana, which houses the headquarters for the regional bloc, cannot benefit from having itself portrayed as a “pariah state”.
He expressed hope that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) would do what is required and move ahead in declaring a winner based on the credible recount process.
Arthur said if there are issues after the declaration then parties should seek to have them addressed by the Court.
A three-member delegation from CARICOM was on the ground during the 34-days recount exercise and they are expected to compile a report of its observations.
The recount exercise shows that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) won the elections, garnering a total of 233,336 votes – a difference of 15,416 over its main political rival, the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition.