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United States vows to protect Guyana’s democracy

United States vows to protect Guyana’s democracy

The United States (US) National Security Council, the forum that decides the US’s national security and military policies, has become the latest organisation to add its voice to the overwhelming calls for democracy to be maintained in Guyana.
In a social media post in which it cited statements made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Security Council made it clear that it stood in support of the thousands in Guyana fighting for the March 2 election results to be tabulated and a winner declared in a transparent manner free from fraud.

“The US is committed to the Americas becoming the 1st fully free hemisphere. We stand with the people of Guyana who want to protect the integrity of their democracy, maintain peace, and preserve regional stability while we collectively confront COVID 2019,” the Security Council said.
Pompeo’s comments were made at a press briefing last week. In his remarks, he had supported the positions taken by the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and others.

These organisations had fielded election observer teams during the elections and afterwards. They have all said that the Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) vote tabulation and declaration by the Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo was not credible and that swearing in a President based on these flawed results would not be democratic.

“The United States is closely monitoring the tabulation of votes in Guyana, which took – the election took place back on March 2nd.  We join the OAS, the Commonwealth, EU, Caricom, and other democratic partners in calling for an accurate count,” the Secretary of State had said during the briefing.

“We commend Caricom’s role in seeking a swift, democratic resolution, and it’s important to note that the individuals who seek to benefit from electoral fraud and form illegitimate Governments, regimes will be subject to a variety of serious consequences from the United States,” Pompeo had also said.

It has been three weeks since the elections were held, with no winner declared as yet due to the discredited figures used by the RO.
The international community has already warned Guyana that it could be isolated and even sanctioned if a President is sworn in on the flawed results, resulting in an uneasy standoff between the international community and the

Government.
After days of procrastination and the derailment of the Region Four verification of results, an agreement was brokered with Caricom to supervise a recount on March 16 of the votes from all the regions.

In fact, it was caretaker President David Granger who proposed that Caricom assist in the recount. The Arthur Chung Conference Centre was chosen as the venue for the recount. The various party agents waited all day, but no recount occurred as GECOM first announced that an agreement would have to be signed, then that it was awaiting legal advice.

Secretary Michael Pompeo remarks to the press
Secretary Michael Pompeo remarks to the press

As the party agents stood guard over the ballot boxes, GECOM officials, then a fumigation crew from the Public Health Ministry and then Police dressed in riot gear arrived and began herding party agents out of the compound. To add more suspicions to the already spiralling situation, a candidate from Granger’s own party then moved to the court to have the recount blocked. Justice Franklyn Holder granted the injunction and the process has since been stalled.
The Caricom officials, having witnessed all of this, left the country. The European Union (EU) and Carter Center observation missions soon followed suit.

Even persons within A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) have expressed misgivings over the process and the numbers declared by Region Four RO.

Former Business Minister and the caretaker President’s son-in-law, Dominic Gaskin has said clearly that he “does not buy Mingo’s numbers”, while the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) has expressed support for a Caricom supervised recount.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), alongside a number of the newer parties including A New and United Guyana (ANUG), The Citizenship Initiative (TCI) and the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), have been on the forefront with many in civil society, calling on GECOM to discharge its duties and conduct the tabulation in a free and transparent manner.

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