He told yesterday’s meeting of OAS Permanent Council “The only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is to respect the results of the national recount. This is fully in keeping with Guyana’s commitments under the (Inter-American) Democratic Charter. In democracies, leaders step aside when they are voted out of office. That speaks to the importance and strength of institutions, not to individuals and to the power of the people, not those who usurp their power,” Freden declared.
Freden was clearly peeved that at the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic when its borders had been closed that president Granger refused to allow the US observers entry to Guyana to observe the recount, noting that “the International Republican Institute, which had observed the elections, was barred from entering the country. The Carter Centre, with decades of experience and credibility observing elections in Guyana, was similarly barred. The reasons for these actions still remain unclear,” he lamented.
He wants Granger to “honour the results of democratic elections, and ask all sides to work together to develop new mechanisms for inclusive politics and governance. If stalemate continues, however, it will only be the Guyanese people who suffer.
“A Partnership for National Unity – and its leaders – face a stark choice. Does it want to be a leader in the hemisphere and a democratic exemplar? Or does it want to be an international pariah? Freden asked the OAS in a threatening manner
“Does Guyana want to have a functioning executive and legislature so 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?” he continued.
“These are the choices facing the country today. Our meeting today reflects the severity of Guyana’s predicament, and we hope that it makes the right choice,” Freden observed.
The US official at the OAS Permanent Council stopped short of accusing the Granger administration of behaving in an undemocratic manner by clinging on to power against the will of the electorate.
Noting that American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has announced visa sanctions after months of warnings. Mr. Freden said if the stalemate continues APNU would have to make the tough choice of Guyana becoming a pariah state on which tougher sanctions would be imposed.
CARICOM Representative to the OAS, Lou-Anne Gaylene Gilchrist assured that the regional organisation has not been interfering in the internal affairs of Guyana because the country is a party to the 1977 Charter of Civil Society that commits member states to respect for democracy and the periodic holding of free elections. She urged the Permanent Council to keep abreast of the political tensions in Guyana. “CARICOM recommends that the OAS Permanent Council remains seized of the situation in Guyana and that it reviews the situation as may be necessary,” she said, adding the region’s appreciation for “patience and calm”.
Chief of the OAS Electoral Observer Mission to Guyana, former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding chronicled the electoral process to date and restated that the recount confirmed that efforts had been made to inflate the declaration for Region/ District Four. “These results, but for minor adjustments, reflected the results contained in the original statements of poll and conclusively established the extent to which the figures for Region Four were altered to give the APNU+AFC coalition an overall majority,” Mr. Golding said.
He said Chief Elections Officer Mr. Keith Lowenfield’s claims of voter impersonation were not substantiated and based on unproven allegations, he had removed 275,092 of the 460,352 valid votes based on observation reports of anomalies, irregularities and voter irregularities.
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