On the invitation of the Government of Guyana, the Organization of American States (OAS) deployed an Electoral Observation Mission to the General and Regional Elections of March 2, 2020. The Mission observed the Disciplined Services vote, on February 21, and the wider process on Election Day. In its preliminary statement, issued on March 3, 2020, the Mission commended the electoral authorities of Guyana on an orderly and well executed voting process.
The Mission was present at the Office of the Returning Officer in Region 4 from the close of the polls on March 2 and witnessed the several challenges there that prevented a proper, transparent and credible tabulation of the votes for that region. Statements issued by the Mission called on the electoral authorities to tabulate the results for Region 4 as prescribed in Guyana’s legislation and, following the ruling of the Chief Justice on March 11, to comply with her orders in this regard. This did not happen.
In a statement on March 12, the OAS Chief of Mission, Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, expressed his concern that the tabulation process lacked transparency. Following the Returning Officer’s continued defiance of the Chief Justice’s orders on March 13, in facilitating an open and transparent verification of the Statements of Poll, the Chief of Mission expressed his further concern that the process was unlikely to produce a credible result and withdrew the Mission from Guyana.
The Chief of Mission informed the OAS Secretary General of the events on the ground, stressing the importance of ensuring that a strong message was sent regarding the urgency of determining and securing the will of the people of Guyana.
The OAS General Secretariat therefore welcomes the initiative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to deploy a high-level mission to supervise a re-count of the ballots in Region 4, as well as the other regions of Guyana. The OAS permanent representative in Guyana, Jean Ricot Dormeus, will remain engaged with the re-count and with the overall electoral process and to report to the General Secretariat.