Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Senior Counsel, Ralph Ramkarran is of the firm conviction that utterances made by executive members of the APNU+AFC last week, were a clear strategy to trash the elections by their allegations of dead persons and countless migrants not in Guyana voting in PPP/C strongholds.
In his most recent writings, Ramkarran explained that the ongoing recount is not the forum for these sorts of objections.
As a matter of fact, the Senior Counsel, who is the Presidential Candidate for A New and United Guyana (ANUG), explained the place for these objections, relating to the lawful conduct of elections or whether an unlawful act or omission is likely to have affected the results (voting by the dead or migrated), is by an election petition after the declaration of results.
“This jurisdiction is given by Article 163 of the Constitution and Section 3 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act,” he pointed out.
Ramkarran reminded that having failed to stop the CARICOM delegation and the recount through a court case filed by its candidate, Ulita Moore, the APNU+AFC’s obvious next step is to discredit the recount.
In support of his stance, Ramkarran reminded of statements made by Chief Executive Officer of the COVID-19 Task Force, Joseph Harmon; Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, who is also General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR); Minister of Public Telecommunication, Cathy Hughes; Aubrey Norton and Lennox Craig.
According to him, they were all “singing from the same hymn book- the elections were rigged by the PPP/C; but the question remains to what end.”
He said their statements were in contradiction with incumbent President David Granger’s statement of May 4, in which he stated, “The General and Regional Elections were free, fair and orderly.”
The Senior Counsel wrote, “Norton said that the President did not use the word “credible,” implying that the President was not ruling out the alleged PPP/C frauds. But the President also said: “I have said, repeatedly, that I shall accept the declaration of the results of the Elections Commission, which will allow for a democratically elected government to be sworn-in to office.”
But, Ramkarran holds that the absence of equivocation suggested that the President was confident that the recount would deliver “credible” results. This, he pointed out has resulted in the allegations and the herculean struggle by highly intelligent, sophisticated and coherent persons to spout incoherent gibberish.
“Just read the interviews. The contradictions make them unintelligible. And what in heaven’s name did the Honourable Minister and General Secretary of the PNCR mean when she said that: “The PPP is afraid of what I call a ‘skin up’ by all these things that are happening right now in the administrative regions.”
The former House Speaker reasoned that a summary of APNU+AFC allegations made by the above named persons during last week, contradicting President Granger, is contained in its statement that there were “clear and unmistakable patterns of irregularities and discrepancies and worse” in the elections, which it attributed to the PPP/C.
Among these, he disclosed were countless instances of dead persons voting in PPP strongholds, countless migrants not in Guyana voting in PPP strongholds and there were several others.
In the first place, Ramkarran said that the objections are not allowed as the gazetted Order for the recount creates GECOM’S mandate to include, the reconciliation of the ballots issued with the ballots cast, destroyed, spoiled, stamped, and as deemed necessary, their counterfoils/stubs; authenticity of the ballots and the number of voters listed and crossed out as having voted; the number of votes cast without ID cards; the number of proxies issued and the number utilized; statistical anomalies and the occurrences recorded in the Poll Book.
According to the Senior Counsel, authenticity of the ballots relate to the ballots itself, that is, the ballot papers, not to the votes.
Against this background, he clarified that this mandate does not accommodate objections of the kinds APNU+AFC are making.
“There appears to be no reason for the endless objections at the recount by APNU+AFC unless it is to build a case to argue that the results of the recount should not be accepted and that the results of the elections should be declared based on the existing declarations, as has been repeatedly argued since the end of the elections and in the interviews last week. GECOM could do so.”
But whether it would in the absence of technical errors and in relation to matters that belong in an election petition after the results have been declared, Ramkarran said this is unknown.
He, nevertheless, concluded that the statement of government-appointed elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander to the effect that the results of the recount are likely to form the basis of GECOM’s declaration of the results is reassuring.