NY group urges expanded sanctions

NY group urges expanded sanctions

Dear Editor,

The NY Guyana Democracy Project (NYGDP) penned a thank you memo to Caricom and OAS for their support to pressure the caretaker government of Guyana to accept the will of the electorate of the March 2 elections. The NYGDP has also called for implementation of more effective sanctions against what it calls “democracy busters’. The NYGDP, headed by former UG Professor (Senior Lecturer) Dr. Tara Singh, is comprised of a group of academicians and other activists who champion democracy in Guyana.

The memo was sent to the Secretary General of the OAS, Mr. Luis Almagro, and Chair of Caricom, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. NYGDP notes that the APNU+AFC incumbent regime has been defiant in accepting the outcome of the elections that showed the opposition PPP won 33 seats as against 31 seats for the ruling coalition and one seat for a joint list of minor parties. It says that “the regime has been coming up with one gimmick after another, a new daily narrative to justify its intransigence. The regime has shown total disrespect for the country’s constitution as well as for the will of the people as expressed in their votes”.

The NYGDP memo states that “the de-facto government has adopted a hardened position to undermine democracy, plunging the country into a prolonged constitutional crisis ever since elections were held on March 2, 2020. That was preceded by another major constitutional crisis when the APNU+AFC government failed to step down from government within three months after the successful passage of a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against it on December 18, 2018”.
NYGDP charges, “that the government has been abusing the court process for over four months to prevent the declaration in order to hang on to power, irrespective of the destruction they are causing to the country”.

The letter thanked the regional organizations for their great efforts in trying to get APNU+AFC to respect the will of the Guyanese electorate. It notes, “If Caricom did not play a central role in the electoral process, the outcome would have been stolen”.

The memo notes that Guyana’s Chief Justice ruled last Monday that the Caricom verified recount data must be used to declare the results of the March 2 elections. The CCJ similarly ruled two weeks ago. These data show that the PPP/C won the elections by a margin of 15,416 votes. The government has appealed the latest CJ’s ruling further delaying the declaration. After the COA ruling, there is likely to be another appeal to the CCJ. NYGDP writes, “The regime has shown no interest in capitulating. Their level of intransigence is buttressed by their support of the armed forces. Once again, we, Guyanese, depend upon Caricom and OAS in particular to pull us out of this election quagmire and help us to protect and defend democracy in Guyana and the wider Caribbean region”.

NYGDP fears the rise of another Venezuela in the form of an authoritarian un-elected government in Guyana. It pens, “It’s our considered judgment that OAS cannot afford to have another Venezuela in its backyard. Additionally, Caricom is deeply concerned that the Granger governing party is setting a bad example for the rest of the Caribbean, in particular”.

NYGDP feels that “the behaviour of members the regime over the past week has shown that visa revocations will not necessarily be a deterrent to their bad behaviour”. The pro-democracy group has called on the OAS for imposition of phase II of sanctions that would freeze assets for democracy-busters to discourage them from abusing the courts.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram

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