–says President Ali, considers CJ’s ruling in elections petition a reflection of Guyana’s democracy
BY resorting to attacks on the Judiciary and driving fear in the mind of citizens as part of extended efforts to deny the validated results of the 2020 General and Regional Elections, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has proven that it has no interest in working for the development of Guyana, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali has said.
In a recent show of reluctance to accept the results of the elections, which show a victory for incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon described the acting Chief Justice, Roxane George’s dismissal of Election Petition, 88 of 2020, as an attempt to protect the PPP/C administration from scrutiny.
Initially not uttering a single word when asked about possible engagements with the Coalition, President Ali, during a press conference on Wednesday, played a recording, which, from all indications was Harmon’s response to the ruling of the Chief Justice (ag).
In this recording, Harmon could be heard saying: “We will appeal… until justice is delivered to us, we must keep hope alive, you must continue to fight, work to remove this installed PPP regime. We fight against principalities and powers, but our struggle is just and righteous.”
Further, the Opposition Leader said: “The ruling of the court must strike fear in the hearts of all the democracy-loving people in Guyana, the Caribbean and around the world.”
“That is the APNU+AFC’s response to the court ruling. Does that give you any indication that they have any interest in working for the development of the country?” President Ali asked rhetorically.
The President said his Government’s position on the opposition is clear and premised on Harmon’s comments in the recording.
In responding to a question on whether he is willing to work around Harmon, President Ali said: “Why is it that I have to work around Harmon? Why is it I have to work around Harmon? I played a tape of this man who has no respect for anyone including the court, making damaging statements, and I am called to ask why I don’t work around him.”
He maintained that the Government’s position is clear, since the Opposition Leader, instead of doing the “right thing”, became outraged at not only the Executive, but also the Judiciary because of the recent ruling.
In a thorough, comprehensive and well-reasoned judgement, the Chief Justice (ag), sitting in the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature, on Monday, dismissed the Elections Petition which sought to vitiate the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, not based on evidence, but hinged on a legal argument pertaining to the constitutionality of the election laws.
Contrary to Harmon’s description of the ruling, President Ali said: “The decision of the court is a testimony both to the independence of our Judiciary and the enduring strength of our democracy and especially in the manner and efficiency in which the court conducted these hearings.
“Even more importantly, the decision arrived at by the court is further evidence of the fact that as a people and a country, whatever our party-political differences may be, these differences are settled peacefully and within the rule of law under which we are all constitutionally governed.”
It is for this reason that the President reiterated his Government’s commitment to upholding and defending the separation of powers among the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, which are so vital to the functioning of a democracy.
“I look forward to our courts continuing to recognise the efficacy of the last elections in addressing any future challenges on this matter,” President Ali said.