GECOM says awaiting court ruling before any further actions
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) yesterday said it has noted calls for it to ensure the electoral process ends shortly but that it has to await a ruling of the court.
Analysts have argued that the broad powers conferred on GECOM by the constitution permit it to continue taking necessary actions and that ultimately the Chair of the Commission Claudette Singh will have to ensure that a recount of the votes of Region Four is done as she has given an undertaking to Chief Justice Roxane George.
“While the anxiety and frustration of the electorate is understandable, the Commission is cognizant that the matter is sub Judice and therefore awaits the outcome of the legal proceedings currently engaging the attention of the Court to inform its deliberations and next steps”, a statement by GECOM said yesterday.
UK Govt warns of “serious consequences” for non-credible elections results
Stark warnings from the international community continue to mount on Guyana, with the United Kingdom (UK) now putting the country on notice of “serious consequences” that will follow if a new Government is formed from non-credible elections results.
This announcement was made by Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, in response to the situation in Guyana following the March 2 General and Regional Elections, for which Guyanese are yet to get results from a credible and transparent tabulation process after the Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) figures declared by the Returning Officer (RO) were discredited.
In a statement on Tuesday, Secretary Raab said that the transition of Government in Guyana should only take place in line with transparent and democratic principles that lead to credible results.
“Any Government sworn in on the basis of non-credible results will face strong international condemnation. If the situation continues to deteriorate, this international response will include a range of serious consequences for those concerned,” he posited.
Nevertheless, the British Foreign Secretary, who according to UK reports will substitute for Prime Minister Boris Johnson if he is tested positive for the novel coronavirus, said that the UK remains ready, along with its partners, to assist in ensuring a credible process that provides the democratic outcome that the Guyanese people deserve.
Just over three weeks ago, Guyanese cast their votes in what was described by international and local observers as an almost smooth polling day process but this was followed by several disruptions and delays to the tabulation process in Region Four. Despite the other nine districts declaring results without any contention, Region Four’s, the largest voting district, declaration was marred with controversy and “credible allegations” of fraud from most of the parties that contested the elections and even the observers. They are all pushing for a recount of the votes cast in the region.
An attempt by the Chairperson of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, last week to supervise a national recount, which was requested by caretaker President David Granger and agreed to by the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, had to be abandoned after an injunction was obtained to block the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from moving ahead with the recounting process. That interim injunction, which is currently before the court, was secured by an APNU/AFC candidate.
This warning by the UK comes on the heels of repeated similar threats from the United States (US). Only last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the North American powerhouse is closely monitoring the tabulation of votes here.
“…it’s important to note that the 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 had also said.
The US Secretary of State supported the positions taken by the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, the European Union (EU), Caricom and others – who had fielded election observer teams to Guyana and have all said that the Region Four vote tabulation and declaration by the RO was not credible and as such, called for an accurate count.
Meanwhile, both the UK and US diplomats here in Guyana, who were also accredited elections observers, have lamented the lack of transparency and credibility in the Region Four tabulation process.
In a joint statement with the Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee, the Ambassador of the European Union (EU), Fernando Ponz-Canto, the British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn, and US Ambassador, Sarah-Ann Lynch, it was said that: “We must be clear that in the absence of a credible process, as directed by the Honorable Chief Justice [Roxane George], it is our view that any results for Region 4 which will impact the overall results of the 2 March elections will not be credible and a President sworn in on the basis of those results will not be considered legitimate.”
Reminding that they are all long-standing friends of Guyana and have supported development here over many decades, the foreign envoys cautioned against leading the country into isolation.
“The betterment of Guyana and its people has always been our interest. In that spirit, we urge all parties to not do anything which could lead to Guyana’s isolation,” the joint statement from the ABCE diplomats detailed.