‘Like it or not Mr. Granger is still President of Guyana’
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Elections Officer Vincent Alexander
Elections Officer Vincent Alexander

…Alexander says as opposition frets over the Head of State visit to ACCC

By Gabriella Chapman
THE visit of President David Granger at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Sunday, has left the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) pressed, and making several absurd allegations.

PPP/C agent, Sase Narine Singh

On Monday, PPP/C agent, Sase Narine Singh, told the media that his party is highly upset with the preferential treatment the President received, and that he (the President) was allowed a ‘private meeting’ with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) staff and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is a privilege not extended to other Presidential candidates.

This alleged ‘secret meeting’ was also pointed out by Singh, as being published on the front page of all the local publications, as well as it was said to the media in a press conference, but yet, still being deemed ‘a secret’.

“I saw that Mr. Granger had a secret and private meeting with the staff in the presence of the chair of GECOM, however, none of the other commissioners of GECOM were present, specifically the PPP/C commissioners. Two weeks ago Dr. Frank Anthony and I were accused of having a so called secret meeting, but my integrity will not permit any secret meetings in this process, I know my place… And the APNU+AFC made a lot a noise about it, yet those same representatives held a private meeting with the staff of GECOM to which no independent observers were present, with a political contestant.

There were no independent observers, no transparency and openness. If a political participant really wants to meet GECOM he/she is free to meet all the commissioners. Granger is a political participant and ought to know better… I expect from GECOM, good action and a moral road map to do this right,” Singh argued.

Responding to the letter issued, as well as the comments from Singh, GECOM’s Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, said that he finds it quite absurd that the visit of the President to the recount venue, would stir such loathing, and would have to strip him of his Presidency and revert to that of ‘candidate’.

“It is true that he is the presidential candidate of APNU+AFC, but whether we like it or not, or whatever view you may have about it, he still happens to be the President of the country. And I think one cannot not take cognisance of that fact,” Alexander told the media.
In fact, he said when the Secretary General of PPP/C, Bharrat Jagdeo visited the centre, he too met with GECOM’s and the other commissioners were not called to be present.

“I don’t think the presence of Granger or Jagdeo or anyone of them irrespective of whom they meet with, should be impacting the process. The process is in those workstations, with professional officers. All of whom, for the time being, have been doing a good job. Too often in this country we are in the realm of criticising things which are not to be criticised,” Alexander said.

Referring to the contents of PPP/C’s letter as “acts of absurdity”. Addressing specifics of the letter, GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, confirmed that one of the GECOM staff was promoted to the position of a workstation supervisor, but it had nothing to do with the President’s visit.

“It was because we have two staff who are functioning in the capacity of supervisors that were here from the start of the recount exercise. One from region one – the Returning Officer, and he left yesterday to head back to Moruca for a week, so there was a need for that position to be filled at that workstation, with a supervisor and so the staff was placed there,” Ward clarified.

She said that this is not the first time this happened, as another supervisor from Region Two went home for three days, and another was promoted to cover for the days.
Ward noted too, that the meetings the President had with GECOM and the CARICOM, were not secret meetings. “…but a meeting which says to us that he is grateful for the progress we have made in the conduct of this exercise and really express his expectations in terms of the process concluding in an expeditious manner,” she said.

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