‘Only credible recount could stave off sanctions’ – Jagdeo tells Granger

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Caretaker President David Granger and former Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

The ongoing national recount of the March 2, polls provides an opportunity for caretaker President David Granger to prevent sanctions from being imposed on Guyana, providing that the recount process is deemed credible and is acceptable by the international community.

This is the view of Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, who lamented that there are still attempts by some elements involved in the vote recount to prevent the process from being completed in a transparent manner.

“The recount is the only chance to avoid sanctions,” Jagdeo told media operatives during a virtual media conference today.

Reminding that it was Mr Granger himself, who advocated for sanctions in 2014 when former President Donald Ramotar had prorogued the Parliament, the General Secretary said that the APNU/AFC leader is very much aware of the damage sanctions could cause on Guyana.

Much controversy erupted following Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning, Officer Clairmont Mingo’s fraudulent declaration; on two occasions, in the full view of international and local observers, party representatives and the entire diplomatic community.

After the fictitious figures were presented by Mingo using a mysterious spreadsheet, all the observers had labelled the results as lacking credibility. Calls then came from every quarter for the international community to impose sanctions on individuals for their involvement in electoral fraud.

International powers – the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union – had warned that sanctions would be applied if the APNU/AFC leader were to be sworn in on the basis of the questionable results.

PPP/c General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo

Breaking his silence for the first time on mounting calls for sanctions against officials of his administration over electoral fraud, caretaker President David Granger, admitted that if the international community were to move ahead in this regard, Guyana could be severely affected.

“Sanctions could harm Guyana in a very serious way,” Granger said on a local radio programme.

He said that those who call for sanctions must consider that it would be “extremely damaging” on the country for a very long time and he does not take such calls lightly.

“I do not take these as empty threats and I would not like to see those sanctions inflicted on my country; on my people,” the caretaker President said.

In relation to Mr Granger’s call for evidence that there were “malpractices” by his party officials that could warrant such drastic measures, Jagdeo said there is solid proof that Mingo’s spreadsheets were fraudulent as the current national recount is proving this to be so.

Jagdeo pointed to the first declaration by Mingo, which carried the signature of senior party executive, Volda Lawrence, saying that no other region’s declaration carried the signature of any party official. This, Jagdeo said shows that there was involvement by APNU/AFC members at some level in Mingo’s declarations.

He noted that to this date, GECOM has still not released the spreadsheets used by Mingo so that a comparison could be made with the current Statements of Recount (SORs).

Notwithstanding this, Jagdeo said he is optimistic and is hoping that the recount process would be successfully completed in an expeditious manner, so that the country could move forward soon.