OPINION: Continuous outflow of conflicting statements from PNCR/AFC operatives

Leaders of the APNU/AFC at a previous political rally.
Leaders of the APNU/AFC at a previous political rally.

The following is an opinion piece by Dr Tara Singh 

Does the litany of changing narratives by the PNCR/AFC‘s members signal the internal contradictions that afflict this party, which has been wobbling under pressure to prove its claim (by Joseph Harmon and Raphael Trotman on 3/26/20, along with others) that it won the 2020 National and Regional Elections? There has been a continuous outflow of inconsistent and conflicting statements from PNCR/AFC operatives. One wonders if their struggle to retain political power has smothered their reason!

With the exposure of GECOM’s Mingo fraud, the PNCR party is now making a bold but incoherent attempt to discredit the election process by alleging Election Day irregularities, for which they have been challenged to produce credible evidence. It will be recalled that on March Four, 2020, Mr David Granger announced: “the National and Regional Elections were free, fair and orderly.” This position was supported by all the observer teams and diplomats.

But now that the recount is unravelling Clairmont Mingo’s voter tabulation fraud, the PNCR/AFC could no longer depend on Mingo’s fraudulent declaration for Region Four to claim victory.

Mr Bruce Golding, Head of OAS observer mission levelled a scathing attack on GECOM’s Clairmont Mingo’s Region Four declaration. “I have never seen such a transparent effort to alter the results of an election.” (5/13/20). And Kit Nascimento, a PSC observer also succinctly captured the moment. “…in all my life and career in and out of politics in this country, I have never seen such a barefaced, ugly and deliberate attempt to rig an election. “(KN 3/14/20)

The plan to install Mr Granger on March 13, 2020, collapsed not necessarily because of the electoral fraud but mainly because of the fear of sanctions being imposed on all those individuals who benefit from electoral fraud. Granger made a u-turn on March 14, 2020, when, with the concurrence of the Opposition Leader, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, Mr Granger invited Caricom to overlook the recount, but much to the dismay of top PNCR officials, who swiftly challenged that in court, but were not successful.

With the numerous examples of Mingo’s voter tabulation fraud for Region Four, the PNCR/AFC has been forced to resort to a disinformation campaign against the PPP/C that takes two formats, namely, (1) alleging election irregularities; and (2) vilifying the PPP/C as undemocratic, anti-America, anti-West, pro-Russia, pro-China, corrupt, murderers and drug dealers.

The PNCR/AFC has hired the sanctions-busting Washington firm of JJ & B LLC to help them with this campaign. They hope that the West will buy into their story and turn the other side in their (coalition) attempt to kill the bedrock of democracy in Guyana by robbing the PPP/C of its victory. Grenada’s Senator Chester Murphy asserts: “this [election impasse] is simply a fight against fraud and not against American imperialism.”

The recount has illustrated so far that the figures contained in the verified and signed SoPs (that are posted on the PPP/C website), are authentic. As of May 17, 2020, in Region Four, a recount of 47 ballot boxes were completed. It shows that the PNCR/AFC votes were inflated by 2625 and the PPP/C votes were reduced by 705. It’s obvious from the scope of this fraud, that others are implicated.

While hesitatingly acknowledging that there is truth in PPP/C’s claim about Mingo’s fraud, Khemraj Ramjattan also sought to neutralise the impact of Mingo’s fraud by repeating their novel claim that there had been election irregularities, and sought to blame the PPP/C for these. And PNCR candidate Roysdale Ford has now accused the Elections Commission of fraud.

The PNCR/AFC leadership has begun to distance themselves from GECOM’s Mingo‘s voter tabulation fraud. The PNCR/AFC does not view themselves now as perpetrators or as beneficiaries of fraud, but rather, as victims of election irregularities. In assuming this new posture, they are also saying that their 2000-plus party agents and thousands of GECOM staff had allowed irregularities, if any, to happen. Unbelievable!

After several conflicting statements from PNCR leaders about the viability of the recount process, Mr David Granger reported on May 17, 2020, that he would accept ‘any’ declaration made by GECOM to determine the outcome of the elections. However, one cannot read too much into this coded language.

PNCR member Bro Joshua Emmanuel asked: “if (Joe Harmon) so believed that the coalition won the elections, why did our party engage in court cases to block the recount? Why is our party opposed to releasing their SoPs to back the claim of victory?” Bro Emmanuel concluded: “we (coalition) lost the elections.”

PPP/C Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali has called upon PNCR/AFC to “cease creating false narrative(s) and spreading propaganda.” Caricom Ambassador to OAS Noel Lynch made a poignant observation: “at the end of the recounting process democracy must be the winner.” (Jamaica Observer: 5/15/20). And we say: “democracy dictates that the winner of the 2020 polls is the PPP/C.”