The 15-member Caribbean Community is calling on embattled Guyanese President David Granger to respect a court ruling on the country’s disputed March 2 presidential and regional elections that would lead to him and his governing coalition conceding power to the opposition.
Granger and his A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition have refused to accept the findings of a 33-day recount led by CARICOM that found Guyana’s opposition had won the vote.
Instead, they have called for the vote to be annulled, arguing there were several irregularities and anomalies in the election. The argument was also made by Guyana’s chief elections officer, Keith Lowenfield, who ruled out more than 100,000 votes in a June 23 report that he said were tainted by fraud and invalid.
The positions immediately led to a court battle because, under the elections chief’s decision, Granger’s coalition would hold onto power with a narrow lead.
The Guyana Court of Appeal, which was asked for an injunction to stop the recount report from being presented to the Guyana Elections Commission, ruled that only valid votes should be counted.
Arguing that the Guyana Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction in the matter, the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), led by former president Bharrat Jagdeo, appealed to the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is the final court of appeal for Guyana.
The CCJ sided with the opposition and invalidated Lowenfield’s election report from three weeks ago. Under its latest decision, the recount would stand, making the People’s Progressive Party/Civic the new governing party.
CARICOM and its newly installed chairman, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, joined a growing number of voices from the international community calling for Granger to step down.
“The community calls on all stakeholders to respect the ruling of the CCJ, Guyana’s final court of appeal,” Gonsalves said on behalf of CARICOM, of which Guyana is a member.