CARICOM Chair concerned about developments in Guyana
With more than 100 days passing since the people went tobthe polls in Guyana, Barbados Prime Minister and Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chair Mia Amor Mottley has called for a speedy resolution to the impasse. In an address made yesterday, Prime Minister Mottley has called for cooler heads to prevail as more than three months have passed since the people went to the polls without a victor being announced.
Speaking from her office on the issue which has become increasingly volatile, Mottley said that it has left something of a stain on the region’s image.
“From the very beginning we have been clear and said consistently that every vote must count and every vote must be made to count in a fair and transparent way. Regrettably, we have seen a level of gamesmanship that has left much to be desired and has definitely not portrayed our Caribbean region in the best light. This is definitely not our finest hour and we must not shy away from that reality,” she said.
Stating that the Community was concerned about reports that the Chief Elections Officer has submitted a report to the Guyana Election Commission which is contrary to directions given by the Commission and does not reflect the results of recount process, Mottley outlined why the results of both the initial count and the recount should be valid.
“These numbers and the certification of them were also witnessed by our Caricom observer team. They traveled to Guyana in spite of the pandemic and the risks to themselves and they scrutinised the recount process. The Caricom observer team was of the unshakable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box on March 2ndand that the results of the recount, certified as valid by the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission, led to an orderly conclusion on which the declaration of the results of the election could and would be made,” she said before going on to add.
“Therefore, we must ask on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate one vote, far less over 115,000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by the officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the said political parties.”
Reminding stakeholders that if there was any evidence of fraudulent practices or corruption that the recourse involved an election petition to an election court, Mottley stated that confrontations such as the one presented to the people of Guyana could lead to dangerous conditions in society.
“Any attempt to provide numbers different from those certified by the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission has left many in shock and wondering what next will happen to frustrate the will of the Guyanese people. The role and focus of political parties must be useful and not obstructive, and embracing and promoting the clear and expressed will of the people. And when we confuse and frustrate that will is when we begin to sow the very seeds of discord and acrimony that we are sworn to dissuade and discourage,” she said.
Going on to say that the Community holds a strong view that no voter must be disenfranchised and that she had four other Prime Ministers accompany her to Guyana to speak to both sides in a bid to quell the animosity, Mottley encouraged the people of Guyana to hold strong in these trying times.
“As you await the finalisationof this process, we urge again that you be patient and that you be committed to the fact that no electoral process can replace the life of any Guyanese, or anyone for that matter. There must be room for all, regardless of who wins and who loses. I assure you that the Community remains committed to the people of Guyana and remains resolute that the report of its observer mission was very clear in its conclusions as to the will of the Guyanese people as reflected in the recount which they monitored,” she said. (MP)