Guyana under pressure to release election results

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Guyana under pressure to release election results

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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LONDON, England (CMC) – Guyana is coming under increased pressure to release results of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections, based on the results of the national recount.

Commonwealth Secretary General Dame Patricia Scotland said the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) should follow the directions given by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and decisively conclude the disputed election.

At the same time, acting assistant secretary for the US Department of State's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affair, Michael Kozak, has endorsed a statement issued last weekend by the Organisation of American States (OAS) which noted that the only democratic solution for Guyana is respect for the results of the national recount.

“We stand with @OAS_official in calling for respect of the results of the national recount in #Guyana. The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it,” Kozak said in a message on the social network, Twitter.

The OAS, which had sent an observer team to monitor the elections and the recount, said that respect for the results of the national recount is Guyana's “only democratic solution”.

The Washington-based hemispheric body noted that “the chief elections officer of Guyana, in direct opposition to the instructions of the chair of the Guyana Elections Commission, has submitted a final report which includes data compiled prior to the national recount; data which had already been deemed to be questionable.

“There can be no justification for this action. As intimated in our statement of July 10, this confirms that the chief elections officer is acting in bad faith and contrary to the interest of democracy in Guyana,” it added.

And in a statement, Scotland said that the “will of the people as expressed” in the elections…must be respected for democracy to prevail in Guyana.

“I urge all political actors and stakeholders in Guyana to accept and respect the results of the national recount and ensure that their words and actions promote an environment of peace, harmony and social cohesion among all Guyanese. “

GECOM was due to meet to discuss a report submitted by chief elections offcer Keith Lowenfield that gave the ruling coalition, A partnership for National Unity (APNU) victory in the elections.

Lowenfield, who had earlier missed the deadline for submitting the report given to him by GECOM chairman, retired Justice Claudette Singh, in his new report, put the valid votes as 475,118, giving the coalition 236, 777 and the main opposition People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) 229, 330.

As a result, he has assigned the coalition 32 seats in the 65-seat Parliament, 31 to the PPP/C and one seat to three of the smaller Opposition parties.

One of the three opposition nominated members on the seven-member GECOM, Sase Gunraj, told reporters that the report did not reflect the results of the national recount that ended on June 9 with the PPP/C claiming that it had won the polls by more than 15,000 votes.

In her statement, Scotland said that she had taken note and welcomed the statement from the chairman of the Caribbean Community, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves, which called on all stakeholders to respect the ruling of the CCJ, Guyana's highest court.

“In accordance with the applicable laws and the constitution of Guyana, the CCJ exercised its final appellate jurisdiction, and, on July 8, 2020 handed down a clear and unambiguous ruling. The CCJ stated, “It is for GECOM to ensure that the election results are swiftly declared in accordance with the laws of Guyana.”

Scotland said that Guyana is a much-loved and valued member of the Commonwealth and “on behalf of the entire Commonwealth family, I strongly encourage the Guyana Elections Commission to follow the directions given by the CCJ…

“Guyana's destiny as a great nation rests on the shoulders of those men and women who are duty-bound to make the right decision, respecting the will of the people and the rule of law, and ready to place their country before their personal ambitions. The Commonwealth calls all leaders to be faithful to the common good so that Guyana's future may truly be forged today,” Scotland added.

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