APNU+AFC has no reasonable basis on which it could claim to have won – Dominic Gaskin

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Dominic Gaskin

AFC Executive and former Minister of Business in the APNU+AFC government, Dominic Gaskin tonight said that there was no reasonable basis on which the governing coalition can  claim to have won more votes than the PPP/C in the March 2nd elections and he said claims of fraud have been “grossly exaggerated”.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Gaskin, who is the son-in-law of President David Granger, also charged that APNU+AFC has no intention of relinquishing control of government.       

“The APNU+AFC has no intention of relinquishing control of government. Five years after winning an election and gaining office with a fair amount of goodwill, the coalition is saying to the people who put us there, the equivalent of “unless and until WE are satisfied beyond a shadow of a doubt that “more votes are cast” in favour of another party in a an election that WE deem credible, WE ain going nowhere”. That condition will never be satisfied.

“My message to my colleagues in the APNU+AFC is simple. No one elected us to remain in office forever. There is no reasonable basis on which you can claim to have won more votes than the PPP-C in these elections. Level with your supporters and start directing your energies towards becoming a credible opposition party in time for 2025. Above all, try to regain the trust of the swing voter. You will never win another election without their support”.

The statement issued by Dominic Gaskin follows:

Having said what I had to say back in March, and having then stayed silent for three months while the recount was agreed, challenged and finally executed, I can no longer wait quietly and politely while our country gets hijacked, ridiculed and torn apart.
In a nutshell, there are six things I would like to elaborate on concerning the 2020 elections adventure:

1) A win by either of the major contestants ought not to have come as a shock to anyone;
2) Supporters of the APNU+AFC were misled into believing that the coalition had won the election;
3) There was then a deliberate attempt to discredit the entire elections;
4) No evidence has been provided to support the claim of vast numbers of rejected ballots among those of the disciplined services, let alone the allegation of a deliberate attempt to invalidate the votes of the disciplined services;
5) No power on earth can convince the APNU+AFC leadership that it lost the election; and
6) All that has occurred since March 4th will make it extremely difficult for APNU and/or the AFC to defeat the PPP in 2025.

It was never a valid assumption that, having won the 2015 elections by a slim majority, the APNU+AFC Coalition would easily win the 2020 elections. It was always going to be tough fight. I’m no political analyst, but it’s fairly obvious that the swing vote has determined the results of the last three General elections in Guyana. Having failed at the polls for over two decades, the PNC never commanded the electoral strength to win an election on its own, and was only able to squeeze past the PPP-C because of its alliance with the AFC.
Unlike the PPP-C and the PNC, the AFC does not have a stranglehold on any section of the electorate. Instead it relies on a swing vote that is more discerning and less forgiving than the constituents of the two larger parties. The question, therefore, is whether it is possible that a sizeable portion of the swing voters, who supported the AFC in 2015, abandoned the Coalition in 2020 and voted instead for the PPP and the new parties. To me this is entirely possible and therefore the results of the 2020 election, while not desirable, are certainly plausible.

Having paid close attention to the tabulated results of the 2020 elections, and having done some projections of my own, I knew by Wednesday, March 4th that a coalition victory, while still possible, was unlikely. I was aware that we had lost the East Coast Demerara sub-district by several thousand votes and the East Bank Demerara sub-district by close to one thousand votes. At the time, the Returning Officer for District Four, Mr. Clairmont Mingo, had completed the tabulations for the Georgetown area, showing the Coalition ahead in District Four by nearly forty thousand votes. This was clearly not enough to close the more than fifty thousand vote lead that the PPP-C had gained in the other nine electoral districts, which had already been tabulated. I was not particularly concerned when I heard the first reports of a “spreadsheet” being used by Mr. Mingo.

However, when I heard the actual numbers that he finally declared, I became deeply suspicious. There was no way his numbers could have been correct. Much to my disappointment, the leaderships of both APNU and the AFC claimed that Mingo’s numbers were consistent with our own Statements Of Poll. They also insisted that a final declaration be made on the basis of those numbers, and supported the court action to prevent a recount. The recount went ahead and the results showed clearly that Mingo’s numbers could not have been based on actual Statements Of Poll. At the very least APNU+AFC’s supporters deserve an explanation from its leadership as to the basis on which they claimed to have won the election prior to the recount.

We live in an imperfect world and no electoral system, especially not one that relies on manual voting and counting, is foolproof or devoid of irregularities. The nation put its faith in the CARICOM observer team, and held its breath for the duration of the recount, while being treated to a daily menu of “Breaking News” of more and more discoveries of “Massive Fraud” and “Systemic Rigging”. In the end the CARICOM team delivered its report, endorsing the elections and the results of the recount, only to have it rejected by the Coalition in favour of a devious piece of reasoning by Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield. To her credit, the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission then issued very clear instructions to Mr. Lowenfield to submit a report for consideration by the Commission using the results of the recount.

Needless to say, another move to the court has been made and this report, from which a final declaration should have resulted, will now have to await the outcome of yet another tedious challenge. The claims of fraud were grossly exaggerated and, unfortunately, designed to fool party supporters, who had placed their faith in the coalition, into believing that there was actual evidence of serious elections rigging by the PPP-C. The claim that vast numbers of disciplined services ballots were deliberately not stamped, and therefore rejected, is a case in point. The so-called intermixing stations are known, and it is a fairly simple task to sum up all the unstamped rejected ballots in those stations to support the allegation. This, however, was not done and the ominous suggestion was left to torment the minds of the men and women responsible for the defence and protection of our country and its citizens.

All of this leads me to a very uncomfortable conclusion. The APNU+AFC has no intention of relinquishing control of government. Five years after winning an election and gaining office with a fair amount of goodwill, the coalition is saying to the people who put us there, the equivalent of “unless and until WE are satisfied beyond a shadow of a doubt that “more votes are cast” in favour of another party in a an election that WE deem credible, WE ain going nowhere”. That condition will never be satisfied.

My message to my colleagues in the APNU+AFC is simple. No one elected us to remain in office forever. There is no reasonable basis on which you can claim to have won more votes than the PPP-C in these elections. Level with your supporters and start directing your energies towards becoming a credible opposition party in time for 2025. Above all, try to regain the trust of the swing voter. You will never win another election without their support.

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Comments

  • guyaneseonline  On June 20, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Court to hear submissions today on application to block final elections report
    Stabroek News

    The Court of Appeal will sit today (Saturday 20 June) at 11 am to hear submissions on the application filed to prevent the Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield from submitting a report to enable a final declaration from the March 2 polls.

    During a case management hearing today, Justices Rishi Persaud, Dawn Gregory and Brassignton Reynolds approved requests from seven of the nine parties which contested the general rlections to be joined as respondents in the proceedings.

    These repondents have been given until 6 pm today to respond to the skeleton submission from the applicant Eslyn David.

    David, through her attornies, Mayo Robertson, John Jeremy, Roysdale Forde and Rondale Keller, will then have until 6 am tomorrow to respond. David is arguing that the results of the votes cast in the elections were not credible and therefore the CEO should not present any final report.

    The plethora of attorneys who appeared before the court included Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who appeared on behalf of Irfaan Alli, Bharrat Jagdeo and the People’s Progressive Party/Ciivc.

    Ralph Ramkarran and Timothy Jonas entered appearances for A New United Guyana, The New Movement and the Liberty and Justice Party, while attorney Kashir Khan appeared on behalf of The Citizenship Iniative and Change Guyana.

    David has mounted her challenge before the appellate court pursuant to Article 177 (4) of the Constitution, which says that that court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to the validity of an election of a President in so far as that question depends upon the qualification of any person for election or the interpretation of the Constitution, and any decision of that Court.

    • Emanuel  On June 20, 2020 at 1:13 am

      My head is spinning. I don’t have a clue why it’s so difficult to get a result. Are we from Mars?! The world, at those parts that give a dam, must be shaking their head and laughing at us.

      Emanuel,

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 20, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Reread Dominic Gaskin (the only honest voice in the APNU+AFC Coalition, not to mention the several rogues in GECOM)

    2) Supporters of the APNU+AFC were misled into believing that the coalition had won the election;
    3) There was then a deliberate attempt to discredit the entire elections;
    4) No evidence has been provided to support the claim of vast numbers of rejected ballots among those of the disciplined services, let alone the allegation of a deliberate attempt to invalidate the votes of the disciplined services;
    5) No power on earth can convince the APNU+AFC leadership that it lost the election.

    ….the coalition is saying to the people who put us there, the equivalent of “unless and until WE are satisfied beyond a shadow of a doubt that “more votes are cast” in favour of another party in a an election that WE deem credible, WE ain going nowhere”.

    ‘That condition will NEVER be satisfied.” [my uppercase for emphasis]

    …..All of this leads me to a very uncomfortable conclusion. The APNU+AFC has NO INTENTION OF RELINQUISHING CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT.” [my uppercase for emphasis]

    I have been saying this last assertion all along, on and off this blog. That is why I use words like ‘dictatorship’, ‘repression’, ‘anarchy’, ‘violence’, etc., ahead for Guyana; and predict if they materialize, that there could be call for partition.

    VNM

    • Bernard  On June 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Partition is a ridiculous idea. Granger has to respect the will of the voters. The PPPc has to respect the will of the people.

      No violence, no abuse of power and no mismanagement of our precious natural resources. Especially our forest.

      I don’t care who rules, rule with respect for all Guyanese.

  • Kman  On June 20, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Gaskin, shut your pie hole if you don’t have something to say.

    • Ramesh  On June 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      Why should Gaskin shut up?

      Doesn’t he have a right to tell his story?

      Perhaps you should heed your own advice.

  • Janet James  On June 21, 2020 at 7:24 am

    The PNC will be tarnished with a dishonest and corrupted party. Ex President Grainger do the honest and decent thing , resign gracefully, you will then be admired as a decent and law abiding President. Your actions will taint you as a
    a common deceitful crook.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 21, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I suggest reading Freddie Kissoon in today’s KN to understand why some Indians would talk partition. And he is only talking since Rodney’s time. There are other well known anti-Indian atrocities prior, since the 1800s.

    (Funny how Kissoon’s views don’t appear on this blog anymore. But was frequent when he regularly wrote anti Indian/PPP pieces, prior to the elections. Now he is more objective.).

    VNM

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 21, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I said Gaskin is the only honest PNC/APNU+AFC executive/supporter.

    Here is their Prime Minister hopeful, Ramjattan, equivocating (don’t think he will get to heaven, though). From KN, yesterday:

    “De facto Minister of Public Security and Prime Ministerial hopeful, Khemraj Ramjattan, CONCEDED THE LOSS of the March 2020 elections during a private meeting with his ministry unit heads Thursday morning, EVEN AS HE YESTERDAY CONTINUED TO CARRY THE OFFICIAL COALITION LINE THAT THE ELECTIONS LACKED CREDIBILITY.

    ““FROM ALL INDICATIONS THE PPP/C HAS BEATEN US BY SOME 15,000 VOTES,” Ramjattan told his key personnel, “The loss of an election is tremendous. It is a difficult time for me, it’s kinda emotional. But at some point in time you have to make a departure because there’s always gonna be a winner and a loser.”

    This is from a recording Kaieteur News has been provided, one in which the AFC executive said that he anticipates a declaration from the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh this weekend, at which point his portfolio will come to an “abrupt end”.

    “THE DECLARATION NUMBERS ARE AGAINST US… WE WENT INTO THE RECOUNT AND WE LOST, so be prepared to accept and to move on,”…..

    There is a further issue. Look at the names of the unit heads, the top brass, in the Ministry of Public Security:
    “In attendance at the meeting were ORMELLA GLADSTONE, Treaty; MARYADAMS, PR officer; CLEMENT HENRY, Head of the Citizens’ Security Strengthening Programme; ORIN BOSTON, Head of Juvenile Justice; YVETTERON SANCHO, Head of the Juvenile Holding Centre; and DELON FRANCE, Director of the Guyana Forensic Lab.
    Also at the meeting were ministry employees and fellow Alliance For Change executives, LEONARD CRAIG and SHEROD DUNCAN, the Ministry’s National Community Policing Administrator. “

    If we can go by names only – which have a high correlation as to whether a person is Indo-Guyanese or not – there are NO Indians running the ministry.
    If we further extrapolate to all ministries in the APNU+AFC gov’t, which again should be highly correlative with this ministry, it is arguably that Indo-Guyanese are only the ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ in the APNU+AFC gov’t.

    Did I say that many Indians would think partition if this lame duck, soon to be illegal. APNU+AFC gov’t is sworn in?
    VNM

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