News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Weds. July 22, 2020: “The pernicious actions of a few have wrecked considerable damage to Guyana’s image and reputation (and) even if this debacle is soon and satisfactorily resolved, it will perhaps take a generation and significant institutional reform for that damage to be fully repaired.”
That was the profound closing summary of former Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding, as he addressed a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States, (OAS) Tuesday, that was specially convened to consider the state of the electoral process in Guyana.
Golding, the head of the OAS observer mission to Guyana’s March 2nd elections told the hemispheric body that Guyana had failed the litmus test of any democracy, that is, the peaceful and orderly transfer of power, adding that the people of Guyana does not deserve that.
Guyana enters the 441st day today since voters went to the polls to elect a new government on March 2, 2020.
But to date there is still no election results as another round of court battle continues and the brouhaha looks set to return to the Caribbean Court of Justice, (CCJ), all over again.
Members of the OAS again yesterday afternoon called for the David Granger administration to allow a peaceful transition of power in Guyana even as government representatives who presented at the meeting, de facto Attorney General Basil Williams and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Karen Cummings, brazenly maintained that the process is still to be completed and the declaration by the GECOM Chair will be recognized once it is in accordance with the law.
Speaker after speaker at the OAS, including the representative from Venezuela, called on the APNU+AFC’s administration to concede and allow the will of the people to be recognized Cummings and Williams, unabashedly maintained that no declaration has been made and that the rule of law is being respected in Guyana.
Their comments come as their supporters continue to stop the declaration at every step.
US ON GUYANA
Bradley A. Freden, the US’ Deputy Permanent Representative at the OAS, stated pellucidly that “Guyana’s ruling coalition rejected this result, disputing how the votes were tabulated.”
“The Guyana Election Commission’s Chief Elections Officer submitted reports that baselessly disenfranchised at least a quarter of the electorate, and discounted the recount numbers,” he stated.
“The only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is respect for the results of the national recount. This is fully in keeping with Guyana’s commitments under the Democratic Charter,” he added. “…there is no way to minimize how flagrant the actions of Guyana’s leaders have been.”
“ 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?,” Freden questioned. “Or does it want to be an international pariah? 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? These are the choices facing the country today.”
CJ ET AL
On Monday, Acting Chief Justice (ag) of the country’s High Court, Roxane George-Wiltshire ruled that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) endorsed the recount of votes and that the ten old declarations from March 13 cannot be “resurrected” as she threw out a case filed by another supporter of the incumbent A Partnership For National Unity/ Alliance For Change, (APNU/AFC).
Justice George ruled that the recount results arising out of Order 60 are valid as already decided by the CCJ, while stating that the submissions by the applicant, Misenga Jones, are “hopelessly flawed.” Jones wanted the GECOM Chairperson, Claudette Singh to be prohibited from using the results of the national recount to declare a winner.
The CJ said that Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield is not a “lone ranger” and has to come under the direction of GECOM and its Chair. She said that there can no longer be an impasse between the CEO and Chair. The CJ also said that the CEO is not a constitutional officer, that status resides with the GECOM Chair.
Lowenfield has thrice defied the GECOM Chair’s instruction to deliver the recount results to the Commission.
But despite the loss again and the CJ’s ruling, Jones’ Attorney Roysdale Ford on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal in Guyana.
Even Golding yesterday predicted the case could end up again at the CCJ. This given the last Appeal’s court ruling in favor of the government supporters.
That would be another in a string of global embarrassment for the party and its dwindling support base, fighting to hold on to power at all costs, as the CCJ justices were clear in their ruling on July 7, 2020 that stated that Chief Election Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission, Keith Lowenfield, must produce his report as already directed by Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice Claudette Singh based on the results of the validated recount.
At the time, Justice Adrian Saunders was scathing in his concern that the election process has gone on for too long. No one, he added, could be satisfied with this state of affairs.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is seeking to make a declaration of the March 2 polls based on the certified recount results which shows that the PPP/C won the elections with 233,336 votes.
Other Caribbean nations, including Suriname, St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla and the Dominican Republic have all held elections long after and declared their results.