BARBADOS/BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has announced concerns 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.”
Statement from CARICOM chair on electoral crisis following Guyana’s 2 March elections
Joint ABCEU statement
The ambassador of the United States of America, H.E. Sarah-Ann Lynch, the British High Commissioner, H.E. Greg Quinn, the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E. Lilian Chatterjee, and the ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Fernando Ponz Cantó are concerned that 114 days after the 2 March elections the people of Guyana continue to await the declaration of an election result. It is important in our view that every vote, cast by every voter, be reflected in that declaration, in order to ensure that the will of the people of Guyana is respected.
That respect includes an election declaration of results that mirrors the order and integrity displayed by the people of Guyana, GECOM and party officials, as witnessed by domestic and international observers during the 2 March general and regional elections. We also note that the CARICOM observer mission, referred to as “the most legitimate interlocutor” by president Granger, concluded on 15 June that “nothing we witnessed warrants a challenge to the inescapable conclusion that the recount results are acceptable and should constitute the basis of the declaration of results of the March 2, 2020 elections.”
We believe election results are long overdue and, in that regard, we applaud the patience and peacefulness displayed by the people of Guyana. Pending the outcome of the appeal to the CCJ, we trust GECOM to meet its constitutional duty to issue a Declaration on the basis of the results of the recount as confirmed by CARICOM, to ensure the democratic choice of the people is fulfilled.
OAS statement on the electoral process in Guyana
The Organization of American States (OAS) has accompanied the March 2 gGeneral and Regional elections in Guyana through all of its stages, including the national recount in Georgetown from May 6 to June 8, 2020. OAS observers were present for the determination and tabulation of the total valid votes cast in each Region – totals that were subsequently confirmed by the chief elections officer and submitted to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
GECOM is therefore already in possession of a result based on the valid votes cast on March 2, 2020, through a recount exercise that was approved by all stakeholders. In these circumstances, the OAS General Secretariat expects that anyone who wishes to challenge the validity of any of these votes should do so through an election petition filed in the High Court after GECOM declares the election result based on the recount data.
Guyana’s 2020 elections have been reviewed repeatedly and extensively by both national and regional courts. While the OAS General Secretariat advocates for the right of all citizens to access electoral justice, there is a fine line between the right to redress and the use of the courts to stall the electoral process.
It is undeniable that this election has gone on long enough. The process in Guyana must be brought to an end, based on the results of the national recount, and with respect for the will of the majority of the electorate. The OAS remains committed to the strengthening of democracy in Guyana, hoping for a just and fair conclusion of the current process.