Guyana is a sovereign country. But it is also part of the global partnership committed to freedom, democracy and human rights. Guyana is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals – 2030. Two hundred countries have signed on to the SDGs – a global partnership to honoUr human rights, to end poverty. One of its goals is for every country to be democratic. But Guyana has signed on to many UN treaties and agreements obligating Guyana to democracy. Guyana by virtue of its membership to CARICOM, the OAS and the Commonwealth must abide by agreements within these organizations to conduct free and fair elections. These agreements are not declaratory. Our constitution recognizes these agreements as part of our laws. This means that rigged elections expose Guyana to sanctions and punishment, not because these other countries and organizations want to punish us, not because anyone in Guyana demand sanctions, but because our constitution demands Guyana face penalties for violating these agreements.
Unless APNU+AFC and GECOM change course and return to counting the ballots, sanctions are coming. The US Government calling in the Guyanese Ambassador to the US in Washington is the latest and surest sign that America and the ABCE countries are not in any mood to tolerate the thieving of the March 2, 2020 elections. CARICOM, the OAS, the Commonwealth have warned Guyana about electoral fraud. Diplomats, Governments, the Commonwealth, the OAS, CARICOM have made threats of sanctions. Just like Guyana joined for the OAS to sanction Venezuela a few months ago, so would the OAS members sanction Guyana. Just like Guyana joined in the Commonwealth to have countries suspended for electoral fraud, so must Guyana expect it will be suspended. Just as we saw recently terrible national and individual sanctions by the Americans against Congo and Venezuela, we must expect these sanctions will come, sooner than later. We can avoid these by counting the votes now.
Electoral fraud was and continues to occur in plain sight. Everyone saw it since it was done in front of the whole world. It continues to be done for the whole world to see. It might have been the most brazen thieving of an election since it happened on live streaming through hundreds of smart phones. It happened in front of Guyanese observers. It happened in front of international observers. It happened in front of diplomats, including the US Ambassador, the High Commissioners from Canada and the UK and the EU Representative. It happened with three former international Prime Ministers present. It was not just brazen, it was barefaced. The stench is so strong, it is stinking up the whole world.
The barefaced efforts to change the narrative to make this a race issue, a Russian interference issue, a re-colonization issue, a discourse over national unity government and other extraneous issues cannot change the brazen thieving of an election.
Joseph Harmon and Raphael Trotman held a press conference on March 26, 2020 begging that the PPP and others should not be asking for international sanctions. He completely ignored that these sanctions are not coming because anyone in Guyana has asked for them. They are coming because the Granger-led APNU+AFC, with GECOM, have tried to thief the election. So far the partnership of Guyanese political parties outside APNU+AFC and independent Guyanese have fought them and blocked them. In spite of the overwhelming resistance from Guyanese, the Granger-led APNU+AFC has not given up. GECOM continues to bob-and-weave as they try to find ways to complete the wicked thieving of the election. This is the reason why sanctions are coming. It is not the PPP. It is not the private sector. It is not the small parties. It is APNU+AFC/GECOM and their brazen thieving of the election. When the time come, the big ones will absolve themselves leaving the little ones to carry the burden.
Some of the international agreements that our constitution recognizes and which demand Guyana conduct free and fair elections or face sanctions are United Nations agreements, such as the 1948 UDHR (Universal Declaration on Human Rights) ARTICLE 21, the 1976 ICCPR (International Convention on Civil and Political Rights) ARTICLE 25, ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption), CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
There are also the Organization of American States (OAS) 1978 American Convention on Human Rights and the 1954 Inter-American Convention on the Granting of Political Right to Women. In 1991 the General Assembly of the OAS established a process by which the OAS will take action if the democratic order is interrupted in any member country. In 1992 the Protocol of Washington, (in ratification), strengthened the mechanisms for defending democracy. In 2001, the OAS strengthened its commitment to free and fair elections by adopting the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Guyana was present and voted for adoption.
As Guyana fought against Apartheid in South Africa and the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Guyana played an important role in the Commonwealth adopting the Harare Declaration 1991. Based on the Harare Declaration, many countries have been sanctioned and suspended from Commonwealth membership.
Particularly since 1992, Guyana has played an important role in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). In 1994, the IPU adopted the Declaration on Criteria on Free and Fair Elections. Guyana is in total violation of this declaration. Finally, Guyana is in violation of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the Nassau Declaration, two important part of the agreements that established and strengthened the CARICOM.
Sanctions are coming because a group of power-hungry men and women led by David Granger is determined to thief an election. Whether there are political parties and others asking for sanctions, these are coming ultimately because of electoral fraud.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy