During his tenure as Opposition Leader prior to taking the reigns of Government in 2015, David Granger had pronounced that sanctions are needed to change a Government’s undemocratic behaviour.
In fact, Granger, at the time, had made a vociferous call for sanctions to be applied against the then Donald Ramotar-led PPP/C Government over the prorogation of the country’s Parliament.
Granger had said that it would be in the Government’s own interest to avoid sanctions at all cost, since such actions could have a serious impact on the country’s economy and its ability to secure international funding for crucial development projects.
In his push for sanctions at the time, Granger had expressed the view that such action was necessary and said he hoped that it would have resulted in the then PPP/C Government “changing its behaviour”.
“We will all suffer once there is sanctions, the question is; who will suffer most and whether that period of suffering…is going to have the effect of bringing about a change in government’s behaviour. I do believe so,” Granger had said.
In making his case, Granger, as Leader of the APNU/AFC Coalition, had explained that sanctions were slapped on countries in the Commonwealth such as Fiji, Pakistan and Zimbabwe over a breach of democracy and expressed hope that the then PPP/C Government would have been “wise enough to act so that the sanctions are not prolonged”.
“It is in the interest of Guyana to avoid these sanctions, because these sanctions could have a serious effect on the economy and of course the way Guyana is perceived in other countries.”
“Guyana wants to attract foreign direct investment, Guyana wants tourists to come, Guyana wants to be able to access donor funding around the world. But when it is perceived widely that Guyana is a pariah state, Guyana is an outcast, there will be less willingness on the part of donor countries to pump money into what is becoming a failed state, to pump money into a country which that does not practice democratic behaviour,” Granger had expressed.
However, now that top leaders and supporters of Granger’s APNU/AFC Coalition are facing the wrath of the international community over their undemocratic behaviour following their refusal to accept the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, Granger is now accusing persons who are making such calls for sanctions, of being anti-national.
Granger’s top advisor, Joseph Harmon, was quoted recently as saying: “I think that’s very anti-national, and I don’t see any country in the world that actually wants to invite that level of sanction on its country knowing fully well the developmental path in which we are.”
International powers are mounting pressure on Granger and his APNU/AFC Coalition to concede defeat and “step aside” so that the duly elected government could take its place.
The national recount has shown that the Irfaan Ali-led PPP/C has won the elections with 233,336 votes. But Granger and a few of his top aides, with the help of elements within the electoral machinery, are refusing to give up power.
In fact, the coalition administration has been given multiple warnings that their failure to respect the will of the people will be met with consequences.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that visa sanctions have been imposed on top Government and elections officials and all others who are involved in undermining Guyana’s democracy.
“Today I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible for, or complicit, in the undermining of democracy in Guyana. The immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to restrictions,” Pompeo said during a State Department briefing on Wednesday.
“The Granger Government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside,” Pompeo asserted.
In a subsequent tweet, Pompeo said that the new visa restrictions imposed on persons involved in electoral fraud sends a clear message of the consequences of subverting democracy and the rule of law.
Canada, on Wednesday, also issued a statement calling for the rule of law and democratic processes to be respected and a declaration of the March 2, polls to be announced “without further delay”.
In a statement, Global Affairs Canada, demanded a “swift and transparent” conclusion to the electoral process and pledged to hold accountable all those persons who prevent it.
The United Kingdom authorities have also begun discussions on imposing sanctions on government and elections officials who are undermining Guyana’s democracy.