Gamesmanship must end, Granger should concede – U.S. Foreign Relations Committee
A powerful group of the U.S. Senate have called on President David Granger to honour the will of the Guyanese people and concede defeat at the March 02 polls. They say a declaration of the winner of the elections must be based on the national vote recount scrutinized by CARICOM.
The statement was issued by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
Below is the full statement:
“Nearly four months since their national election, the Guyanese people are still waiting for an official result following the general and regional elections in their nation. This is unacceptable.
“We share in the frustration expressed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), and other international stakeholders, and call on the Guyanese authorities to issue an official election declaration that reflects the results of the March 2nd election which were confirmed in the official recount by CARICOM’s observer mission.
“Recent reports suggest questionable maneuvers by interested parties designed to continue forestalling a final declaration of results, which members of the press say indicates a defeat for the incumbent government. President Granger should honor the will of the Guyanese people and concede.
“We extend our support and solidarity to the people of Guyana, who have borne more than their fair share of patience during this process. For their sake, the future of democracy and the rule of law in our hemisphere, the ongoing uncertainty and gamesmanship must end.”
On May 12th, Risch, Menendez, Rubio, and Cardin had led several colleagues in a letter to President Granger encouraging a free, fair, and transparent recount of the presidential election.
Vote recount results must be respected – The Elders
The Elders Group, Friday, said that the will of the people expressed in the March 2 General and Regional Elections and confirmed in the recount “must be respected”.
“An electoral declaration should be made without delay,” the Group said via a twitter message.
Nearly four months have passed since #Guyana's elections. The will of the people expressed in the elections and confirmed in the recount must be respected. An electoral declaration based on the recount should be made without delay.https://t.co/ps3Nmm22cq
— The Elders (@TheElders) June 26, 2020
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, had expressed concerns that Guyana is still to see an election result well over a hundred days after citizens voted and at the same time expressed determination that democracy must triumph.
The results of the national recount has confirmed that the Opposition PPP/C has won the elections by over 15,000 votes.
Lowenfield defends invalidating over 115,000 voters
Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield has defended invalidating over 115,000 voters.
In a press statement issued by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Lowenfield said “at all times, I have acted in conformity with the laws.”
He was at the time responding to an article in the Stabroek News which reported that the CEO’s actions are seen as a clear act of insubordination.
Lowenfield has received backlash from many local and regional stakeholders, with the most recent being the Chair of the Caribbean Community, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley who had asked: “on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate 1 vote, far less over 115 000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties.”
Only recently, regional political scientist Peter Wickham reasoned that “Lowenfield is part of GECOM, GECOM supervised the election, so is Lowenfield saying that he supervised an election in which 50 per cent of the votes cast should not have been cast.”
According to Wickham, “elections are supervised by GECOM, if there is a failure regarding that, it’s GECOM’s failure …they should be hanging their heads in shame to suggest that they supervised an election in which half of the people who voted should not have voted.”
Lowenfield unilaterally altered the certified recount results, which show the PPP/C winning the elections, to award the “victory” to APNU/AFC coalition.
The recount results, which are seen as credible by local and international stakeholders, show that the PPP/C has won with 233,336 votes.
Mottley tells critics: The truth hurts
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Friday fired back at her critics, telling them bluntly that the truth hurts.
“The truth hurts …But what we must never do in CARICOM is avoid the truth and avoid our principles,” Mottley said in response to a question from the Barbados media in relation to the unwarranted attacks she received for her strong stance against attempts to alter the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections in Guyana.
Mottley, on Wednesday, had said that the CARICOM is concerned by the Chief Elections Officer’s latest report in which he sought to present concocted figures in favour of the incumbent APNU/AFC Coalition and at the same time discarded over 115,000 valid votes.
In a video statement, PM Mottley asserted that Lowenfield’s numbers cannot vary from those coming out of the national recount which was observed by a CARICOM high-level team.
She noted that from the inception, CARICOM has been clear in consistently calling for every vote to be counted in a fair and transparent manner.
However, immediately after her comments were made public, the APNU/AFC Coalition went into attack mode against the Bajan PM, as they have done with all other stakeholders who have called for the results to be declared on the basis of the national recount.
The CARICOM Team had concluded that the recount process was credible and that the numbers coming out from it reflected a win by over 15,000 votes for the PPP/C.
STATEMENT by the Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados on the Electoral Crisis following Guyana’s General and Regional Elections 2 March 2020
Many of us have observed with great sadness what has been transpiring in Guyana.
It is more than 100 days since the people of Guyana went to the polls. And yet there is no declared result. 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.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is concerned at reports that the Chief Elections Officer has submitted a Report to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) which is contrary to the directions given by the Commission and which does not reflect the results of the recount process as certified by the very staff of the Guyana Elections Commission and witnessed by representatives of the political parties.
Indeed, these numbers and the certification of them were also witnessed by our CARICOM Observer Team. They travelled to Guyana (in spite of the pandemic and the risk to themselves) and they scrutinised the recount process.
The CARICOM Observer Team was of the unshakeable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box on March 2 and that the results of the recount certified as valid by the staff of GECOM led to an orderly conclusion on which the declaration of the results of the Election would be made.
Therefore, we must ask – on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate 1 vote, far less over 115 000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties.
We must remind all that If there is any evidence of fraudulent or improper conduct then there is a clear and well accepted route to deal with these matters. It is through an Election Petition to an Election Court.
Any attempt to provide numbers different from those certified by the staff of GECOM 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 in embracing and promoting the clear and expressed will of the people. 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.
The Community holds the strong view that no voter must be disenfranchised in determining the credibility of this or any election. It is this commitment to a fair and transparent political process that led us to send 2 Electoral Observation Missions – one for the Elections and one for the recount. In addition, 4 Prime Ministers accompanied me to talk to both sides and to urge patience especially after the death of 1 person.
The Community thanks patience of the Guyanese people and thanks you.
As you await the finalisation of 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. 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.
Declaración de la OEA sobre el proceso electoral en Guyana
La Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) ha acompañado las elecciones generales y regionales del 2 de marzo en Guyana en todas sus etapas, incluido el recuento nacional en Georgetown del 6 de mayo al 8 de junio de 2020. Los observadores de la OEA estuvieron presentes para la determinación y tabulación del total de votos válidos emitidos en cada región, totales que posteriormente fueron confirmados por el Director de Elecciones y presentados a la Comisión de Elecciones de Guyana (GECOM, por su siglas en inglés).
El GECOM ya posee por tanto un resultado basado en los votos válidos emitidos el 2 de marzo de 2020, a través de un ejercicio de recuento que fue aprobado por todas las partes interesadas. En estas circunstancias, la Secretaría General de la OEA espera que cualquiera que quiera impugnar la validez de cualquiera de esos votos lo haga a través de una petición electoral presentada ante el Tribunal Superior, después que el GECOM declare el resultado de la elección en base a los datos del recuento.
Las elecciones de 2020 de Guyana han sido revisadas de forma reiterada y exhaustiva por los tribunales nacionales y regionales. Si bien la Secretaría General de la OEA aboga por el derecho de todos los ciudadanos a acceder a la justicia electoral, existe una línea muy fina entre el derecho de revisión y el uso de los tribunales para bloquear el proceso electoral.
Es innegable que esta elección ha durado el tiempo suficiente. El proceso en Guyana debe finalizar en función de los resultados del recuento nacional y respetando la voluntad de la mayoría del electorado. La OEA sigue comprometida con el fortalecimiento de la democracia en Guyana y espera una conclusión justa e imparcial del proceso actual.