General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Bharrat Jagdeo, on Friday, fired off at Executive Member of the APNU/AFC Coalition, Joseph Harmon, over his series of attacks against respected Caribbean personalities for their stance on ensuring a credible winner is declared following the recount of votes cast in the March 2, polls.
Jagdeo referred to the “nasty statement” by Harmon in which he launched a tirade against the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, over comments he (Gonsalves) made in relation to the political situation in Guyana.
Dr Gonsalves – the incoming Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – during a NBC Radio Programme on Wednesday, said that the regional bloc will not tolerate the stealing of an election, nor 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, mere hours after, via a virtual presentation on State television, responded by attacking the integrity of Dr Gonsalves accusing him interfering and for being unfit to comment on Guyana’s internal political affairs.
However, Jagdeo, on Friday afternoon, noted that this behaviour has now become a pattern of the APNU/AFC Coalition leaders, more particularly Harmon, to chastise anyone who opposes their “attempts to steal the elections”.
Jagdeo, also a former President, said that all because Dr Gonsalves made a statement urging stakeholders to respect the results of the recount; and for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to make a declaration on the basis of the recount, he has now been faced with “the most vile attack” by Harmon.
“He seems to be their bull dog, he curses out CARICOM heads of Government, or anyone for that matter; the entire international community…who will dare say that they lost the elections”.
Only today (Friday), Mr Owen Arthur, a former Bajan Prime Minister, during an interview on Kaieteur Radio contended that: “Mr Ralph Gonsalves is in perfectly good order” and Harmon should refrain from launching such attacks against regional heads.
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.
“We operate with each other based on the Treaty of Chaguaramas …Therefore we bound ourselves to the practice of good governance.”
“Any departure from the practice of principles of free elections is an infringement of the Charter of Civil Society,” Arthur highlighted.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo reminded that President David Granger and himself had agreed to a national recount of the votes. He added that Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley had also made it clear “it was a recount” and the results must be declared on that basis only.
He outlined that the PPP expects that Chief Elections Officer, Mr Keith Lowenfield will complete his report soon; “which must be consistent with the Recount Order”.
“We are expecting that the Commission will act in accordance with their mandate…and now that the results are known, they will formally declare Irfaan Ali as President of Guyana, before the 16 of June”.
“I want to make it clear that GECOM is bound to make a declaration on the basis of the recount. So we are awaiting the official declaration although we have a President-elect already,” the General Secretary added.