Almost four months after Guyana went to the polls, incumbent President David Granger maintains that only valid votes should be counted to arrive at a result for the Guyana Elections.
During a radio interview last evening on the Mark Benschop “Straight Up Show”, the President said the anomalies discovered during the vote recount cannot be ignored or brushed aside.
He said that the recount looked not just at the quantity of the votes but also at the quality of the votes cast and the recommendations of the CARICOM report on the recount shows that there were issues and concerns about the quality.
“We have insisted that the elections process be regarded not only in terms of quantity of votes but also in the quality. In quantity, yes you will arrive at a number but when you look at quality, you will see that votes have been manipulated and the cases are numerous. Some people are only reading page one or two of the CARICOM report, they are not reading the whole report. The list to start with is bloated and that is the source of a lot of this mischief”, President Granger said.
While the CARICOM Report on the national vote recount recognised a number of irregularities and also recommended an overhaul of the Elections Commission and a new registration of voters, it also stated that it believes the recount still showcased the will of the people.
But President Granger said it would be unacceptable for a report to be presented by the Chief Elections Officer that does not take into account the issues of irregularities and anomalies.
According to the President “once you are dealing with a country of a population of 750,000 and you have a voting list of 651,000 and that padding has been the source of many of the irregularities that we discovered over the past 19 weeks and that is Persons who are dead, persons who migrated, persons who are not qualified and these were just some of the anomalies and irregularities that we discovered. It is unacceptable for the Chief Elections Officer to present a report which doesn’t take into consideration the fact that these irregularities did occur and have affected the validity of the votes and this is the reason why…the Guyana Court of Appeal ruled that votes must be valid votes”.
The Chief Election Officer last week presented his final report on the elections to the Guyana Elections Commission showcasing only the valid votes that were cast. The Chief Election Officer said he was guided by the Guyana Court of Appeal decision. That decision by the Chief Elections Officer resulted in just over 115,000 votes being discarded, affecting all of the parties that contested the elections.
The People’s Progressive Party has said it will not allow any voter to be disenfranchised as it maintains it won the elections based on the recount.
The Elections Commission is still to meet and discuss the report of the Chief Elections Officer as the People’s Progressive Party has taken an appeal before the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The matter before the CCJ will come up tomorrow.
President said his government has always been respectful of the actions of the Court and will continue to do so.
The CCJ is getting set to hear arguments in an appeal by the People’s Progressive Party Civic which wants the Court to throw out a ruling by the Guyana Court of Appeal which interpreted the words “more votes than” in the Guyana Constitution to mean “more valid votes”.
The Court is also expected to address the issue of whether it really has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The Attorney General of Guyana has been insisting that the Guyana Court of Appeal’s decision on the issue that was taken before it was final.