Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley says that the Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo has the power in his hands regarding Guyana’s future stability.
At a press conference held Thursday at the Guyana Marriott in Georgetown following a two-day visit by Mottley and four other Caribbean Prime Ministers, the CARICOM Chairman warned against attempts to delay the tabulation of Region 4 votes, which she noted will be in contradiction of the ruling by the Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.
“Any attempt to be able to stall the process or any attempt to obfuscate the process is one that runs against the spirit of the Chief Justice judgment and it is against this background that we pray that even though the statute puts power in the hands of a Returning Officer (RO), that the RO will understand that he holds in his hands, the future and stability of Guyana as we go forward,” Mottley said.
The Chief Justice on Wednesday ordered the Returning Officer to return to the credible and transparent tabulation of ballots from Region 4 following an injunction filed by a private citizen last week.
She ruled that the Returning Officer had breached the law in the adding up of Statements of Poll (SOPs) and should return to the process, whether to start afresh or to continue where they left off.
The tabulation process resumed Thursday at 11:00hrs but was subsequently suspended by the Chairman of GECOM, Justice (Rt’d) Claudette Singh after the RO used a disputed spreadsheet.
The GECOM Chairman is awaiting the written ruling of the CJ.
Mottley along with Prime Ministers Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines travelled to Guyana on Tuesday to ease the post elections tension in the country.
She noted that the CARICOM delegation met the leaders of both major political parties – the PPP and the APNU+AFC as unit.
“We hope that good sense will prevail on all sides, we have asked both sides to speak to their supporters,” Mottley said.
Cognizant of the fact that Guyana is a sovereign State and the CARICOM leaders cannot interfere in the internal process, Mottley said the visit was aimed at encouraging the two major political parties to engage each other and to push for a transparent election.
She noted that the parties have met with their Commissioners on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and have committed to a free, fair and transparent process.
Mottley said the lives and stability of the people of Guyana are at stake.
“This country is on the cusp of turning the corner economically but it must also be on the cusp of making every Guyanese a winner and not a loser. Our fear is, that if the process is not transparent, that will put at risk too much and I, therefore, hope that the people of Guyana will ensure there is calm, there is peace,” she noted.
Referring to the death of a protester during the post-elections protest, the CARICOM Chairman said such behaviours must not continue.
With Georgetown being the home of the CARICOM Secretariat and Guyana being one of the founding members of the regional body, Mottley said it is important to maintain stability.
She said it is therefore even more important for the Caribbean members to ensure peace and stability is maintained.
President Granger in his meeting with the regional leaders said he will continue to abide by the Constitution of Guyana, the ruling of the Supreme Court and the decision of the Guyana Elections Commission.
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Bharrat Jagdeo, on the other hand, promised to do all that is necessary to ensure a free, fair and transparent process.