President David Granger, who was toppled in a No Confidence motion, took over a year to allow elections and now refuses to concede defeat, risks making Guyana an internal pariah, or outcast, the United States warned on Tuesday.
“In democracies, leaders step aside when they are voted out of office.
“That speaks to the importance and strength of institutions not individuals and to the power of the people not those who will usurp their power,” said Bradley A. Freden, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the OAS.
His comments were later shared on Twitter by Michael Kozak, the United States Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs who has repeatedly warned of the consequences if the results of the recount are not accepted.
The OAS Permanent Council Tuesday held a special meeting to discuss the electoral crisis in Guyana and Trujillo said the fact of the meeting underscores the severity of the problem in Guyana.
Freden acknowledged that both the OAS and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have determined that based on the national vote recount, the opposition PPP won the elections. But Granger and his APNU+AFC refuse to accept the results, launching several legal battles to stay in power, hoping for some form of technicality to get it sworn into office.
But the international community, including the United States which has already imposed visa restrictions, are not prepared to tolerate the defiance of the results.
Freden said the United States fully agrees with the conclusion of the OAS that the only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is to respect the results of the national recount. Trujillo said this is fully in keeping with Guyana’s commitment under the democratic charter of the OAS.
ANPU and its leaders face stark choices, Freden declared.
“Does Guyana want to be a leader in the hemisphere and an example of democracy or does it want to be an international pariah?
“Does Guyana want to have a functioning executive and legislature, so that it can pass the laws it needs to encourage the development of its people, or does it want to remain a country whose leaders cannot travel and are subject to sanctions?”
Freden said the United States has long had high hopes for Guyana.
“We believe it can and will leave behind its history of political strife and come together for the benefit of its people.
“It was, and hopefully still is, poised to become a regional democratic leader, and use its newfound resources to improve the welfare of its citizens,” he stated.
He described the 18 months since the passage of the No-Confidence motion against the Granger government as “chaos,” saying it “ushered in a period of political paralysis at a time when Guyanese leaders of all backgrounds could have come together to lay the foundation for a brighter more prosperous future.”
Freden noted that periods of political uncertainty are not uncommon in Parliamentary democracies and last year and this year, the United States was optimistic that Guyana would resolve its political stalemate promptly and democratically.
But then came the March 02 elections, he said, when international observers noted flagrant tabulation irregularities and unanimously agreed that there was no credible result.
He said it became clear to the international community that there are forces who first tried to prevent the recount and then repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box.
Freden reminded of the consequences if Granger and his government continue to act in defiance of the recount, noting the determination of the international communities to impose sanctions on Guyana.
“It is not too late for Guyana.
“We call on its leadership to honour the results of the democratic elections…,” Freden stated.
He said once this is done it would be time for the country’s leaders to develop inclusive systems of governance for the country.