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…Harmon declared after election petition dismissed
…vows to appeal decision, says democracy stabbed in heart
Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon on Monday vowed to appeal the decision of the High Court, which in effect, dismissed the Election Petition challenging the results of the 2020 Elections as declared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
“Today democracy was stabbed in the heart in this fair land of ours. We must and will lodge an appeal against this atrocious decision of the High Court,” the Opposition Leader told supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), some of whom had gathered in front of the High Court during the course of the ruling by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.
Harmon said many APNU+AFC supporters had expressed doubt that the court will rule in their favour, but he remained hopeful, and had advised that the judicial system will rule in accordance with law.
“I have myself urged that if we do not have a court whose decisions are sound in law, fair in its application of justice and perceived as impartial by the society, that critical element which holds us together as a nation will lose its credibility.
Today, like you, I am disappointed and feel let down by our judiciary but I remain fortified that our hierarchy of courts will correct this clear injustice which has been wrought on the Guyanese people,” the Opposition Leader told the coalition supporters.
According to him, the ruling is an attempt to prevent the removal of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government from Office.
“This is a clear attempt to protect the installed PPP regime from scrutiny and from being removed from government where they have no right being,” he said while iterating the coalition’s long held position that the March 2020 Elections were flawed and fraudulent.
“The world knows this. The world has seen this. There was clear fraud. We saw that as plain as day when the boxes were opened. Missing poll documents, dead people voting, people outside of Guyana recorded as voting, missing ballots, missing oaths of identity and a whole host of irregularities, discrepancies and wholesale fraud,” Harmon said.
He said the Coalition had hoped that the basis upon which the PPP regime was installed would have been set aside and the laws of Guyana stringently and robustly upheld but such was not the case.
“This decision is not about justice, this is not about the people of Guyana, this is not about what is right, this is not about democracy, this is not about you. It is about protecting the status quo – no matter how corrupt that status quo is,” the Opposition Leader contended.
He added: “This struggle, since August last year, has been gruelling and painful. We have suffered so much. So many of you have suffered so much since this installed PPP regime came into office eight months ago. Many of you have lost your jobs and livelihoods and the country has regressed and reversed into economic decline.
People are crying out everywhere. Prices are going up and people do not have money in their pockets. Hospitals do not have medication and crime is on the rise. These are dark days in our country but we must not give up.”
Notwithstanding the loss, the Opposition Leader expressed gratitude to the legal team led by Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde and John Jeremie, who defended the petition in court.
“We owe them an immense debt of gratitude. Their case was solid but the system ruled against them as it ruled against us,” he said while adding “Comrades I must especially thank you for your perseverance, your resilience, your confidence and your wherewithal. This is not the end.”
Harmon said the ruling will be appealed until justice is delivered, as he called on supporters of the coalition to keep the hope alive.
“Through it all you have been resilient and I salute you. We must continue to be resilient and stand firm against injustice. We fight against principalities and powers but our struggle is just and righteous and the struggle must continue. Today is a dark and ominous day for democracy in Guyana. The ruling of the court must strike fear in the hearts of all democracy loving people in Guyana, in the Caribbean and across the world. We have continuously called on our people to keep the peace, to remain calm and to uphold the law.
Today however we have witnessed once again the judicial system failing our people. The APNU+AFC cannot and will not be held responsible for the reaction of the victimised, disenfranchised and marginalised masses. We will continue to fight and we wish to make it clear that all options remain open to us,” the Opposition Leader said.
The acting Chief Justice, in delivering the ruling, said that Section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, and Order 60 (Recount Order) were not unconstitutional, and were intended to remove the difficulties that arose during the 2020 Elections to allow for a fair and credible declaration.