CARICOM team exits Guyana as election crisis deepens

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A high-level team from regional body CARICOM which arrived in Guyana over the weekend to supervise a full recount of votes has withdrawn after a person associated with the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition party secured an injunction from the court blocking the process from moving forward.

The fielding of the CARICOM team had been at the request of Guyana’s President David Granger, who along with Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, had agreed to the recount given that the tabulation process had been widely viewed as not being transparent or credible.

“It is clear that there are forces that do not want to see the votes recounted for whatever reason. Any Government which is sworn in without a credible and fully transparent vote count process would lack legitimacy,” CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mottley said it is critical that good sense prevail for the preservation of law and order. She called on all parties to work hard to ensure that there is peace on the roads and in the communities across the new oil producing nation.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Tuesday night, Mr. Granger said he is “deeply disappointed” that the recount process has stalled.

“This independent court action has curtailed further our thrust towards reaching a transparent conclusion to the 2020 General and Regional Elections,” he said.

The applicant in the court action, Ulita Grace Moore, is a regional candidate for the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition, which Mr. Granger heads.

The President stressed that he is prepared to abide by the Constitution of Guyana, the decisions of the Elections Commission and the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“I iterate my commitment to the due completion of all electoral requirements and the conclusion of the process under the auspices of the Commission and in the interest of all Guyanese,” he stated.

International pressure mounts

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Guyana on Tuesday that 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 said that the US joins the Organisation of American States, (OAS) the Commonwealth, European Union, CARICOM and other democratic partners in calling for an accurate count in the Guyana elections adding that the U.S. commends CARICOM’s role in seeking a swift democratic resolution.

Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs also said last Friday that Guyana should “avoid a transition of government” following grave concerns with the conduct of the verification process.

“No candidate should declare victory or be sworn in while serious questions remain about credibility of March 2 elections and whether procedures were followed,” Michael G. Kozak, said in a tweet.

The US, Canada, United Kingdom as well as a number of observer groups that were in the country for the election have all said the verification process lacked credibility and that in the absence of a transparent method to determine a winner, any government sworn in would be illegitimate.

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