Drawing a link between the oil curse and GECOM’s failure to lawfully tabulate the elections results for Region Four, the Justice Institute of Guyana (JIG) yesterday said that the rule of law is the first casualty of the ‘oil curse’.
Melinda Janki, attorney-at-law and Executive Director of the JIG said in a release that “Today disrespect for the rule of law is the lived reality in Guyana as GECOM fails to carry out its legal duties.”
The release said that the attempt by GECOM on 5th March 2020 to declare an election winner before tabulating all of the results from the Statements of Poll was an “embarrassing, unintelligent and totally unacceptable attempt to rig a peaceful election”.
The release said that Guyana’s fragile democracy has been undermined by irresponsible claims of vast oil wealth – from the unrealistic US$168 billion put forward by Global Witness to the more modest tens of billions from energy commentators and foreign press. These claims, the release said, ignore the reality of Guyana’s unconscionable petroleum deal with Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd., CNOOC Nexen Petroleum Guyana Ltd., and Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd.
Janki was quoted in the release as saying that, “Guyana must not base its future on an unstable and unsustainable petroleum foundation”.
In defence of the Constitution and democracy JIG urged that GECOM obeys national law and completes tabulation of the Statements of Poll. It also called on the World Bank to immediately suspend all oil related projects and activities in Guyana until democracy is restored. It further demanded that all oil production and exploration activities be suspended safely and without risk to Guyana’s fragile marine environment until democracy is restored.
It also urged that the next government obeys the Constitution and puts Guyana on a comprehensive sustainable development path.