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GUYANA | Respect legitimacy of CARICOM Observers, COVID-19 measures, Gov't tells US senators

Featured Foreign Minister Dr. Karen Cummings Foreign Minister Dr. Karen Cummings
GEORGETOWN, Saturday May 16, 2020 - The Government of Guyana has reaffirmed its confidence in the CARICOM High Level Observer Team, while denying a request to allow the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Carter Centre permission to re-enter Guyana to observe the recount of ballots of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, in response to a request from US ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch, foreign minister Dr. Karen Cummings restated the government’s confidence in the high level CARICOM team which is overseeing the recount process.

“The Caribbean Community remains the most legitimate interlocutors (speakers) in the Guyana situation and Guyana is equally confident in the legitimacy, credibility, and competence of the CARICOM team to perform its task.”

She also appealed to countries and agencies to respect the decision the Government of Guyana has made to protect its citizens from the coronavirus.

“Guyana requests that the legitimate decisions it has taken with respect to the role of the Caribbean Community in the recount of ballots cast in the General and Regional Elections, as well as the Emergency Measures it has implemented to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic to be respected.” Dr. Cummings urged.

Minister Cummings also reiterated that re-admission to foreigners would not be possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Owing to the Public Health Situation which arose as a consequence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the series of emergency measures that were promulgated since 16th Match 2020, including the imposition of a curfew and closure of its international airports; it may not be possible for the Carter Centre and IRI Advisor to participate in the overseeing of the recount of votes cast on 2nd March 2020 General and Regional Elections which as you are aware has already commenced,” the foreign minister stated in a letter to US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch.

The national recount of ballots is gazetted to be completed in 25 days. Today marks day 10 of the process which began on May 6.  

The foreign minister had also replied to a letter from five US Senators lobbying on behalf of the Carter Centre and the International Republican Institute (IRI) to re-enter Guyana and to be given “carte blanche” authority to observe the recount.

The senators, Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida; James E. Risch, Republican of Idaho; Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland; Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, in their letter said “a crucial part of this process is that credible international observers be allowed to return to Guyana and be given free and unfettered access to all aspects of the recount in order to confirm the integrity of the process.”

However, the letter which was Dispatched by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Karen Cummings under the direction of President David Granger, reaffirmed the Government’s confidence in the high-level CARICOM team while noting that it has primarily been the President’s desire to see a smooth, credible resolution of the March 2 elections.

Minister Cummings further asked the Senators to be cognisant of Guyana’s efforts to protect its citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Referenced were the emergency measures that have seen closures to the country’s two main international airports along with the implementation of a 6pm-6am curfew.

Concerning the conduct of the elections on March 2, the letter conveyed the Government’s pleasure in reports from International Observer Missions that the elections were, “free, fair and peaceful […] without violence, civil disorder and social disruption.”

Additionally, the Government commended the integrity of the nation’s democratic organs that have been tested throughout the elections process. Minister Cummings posited, “the Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Elections Commission were never threatened.”

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  • Countries: Guyana
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