Guyana general elections: UK foreign secretary express concerns

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab [Photo: AP]

By Caribbean News Global fav

LONDON, England – A statement from foreign secretary Dominic Raab, in response to the situation in Guyana, following elections earlier this month, underscores matters of democracy, rule of law and ultimate constitutional reform, expressed on two occasions over the last week by Sir Shridath Ramphal and Sir Ronald Sanders.

Foreign secretary Raab said: “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. 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.”

Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth (1975-1990), Chairman of the West Indian Commission (1990-1992), Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (1989-2002), Head of the CARICOM Regional Negotiating Machinery, Co-Chair of the Commission on Global Governance (1995).

Sir Ramphal in his first statement said: “What is required now is for all to place the interest of the nation above other narrow considerations that could mar the country’s prospects; and retard the strides that the people of Guyana have made collectively. I urge that peace and progress be pursued lawfully and transparently.”

Recognizing the gravity of Guyana’s general elections to democracy and rule of law, Sir Ramphal in a second statement advised; “The collective quest for a perfect nation”, remains the collective goal of the Guyanese people. If events next this week are treated with the solemnity and purpose, asserted in every Constitution of Guyana since independence, based on a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and in the spirit they proclaim of  “reconciliation and cooperation”, our nation has every opportunity to overcome and prosper.”

Sir Ronald Sanders is Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the Organisation of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College in the University of Toronto.

Sir Ronald Sanders, in his weekly commentary on CNG, wrote last week: “Should the Guyana general elections be declared, and a government established, without the blessing of the international organisations that the government invited to observe those elections: Guyana could face suspension from the Commonwealth and from the Organisation of American States (OAS) – two of the most important organisations to which it belongs, for breaches of the Commonwealth 1991 Harare Declaration on the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth; and the Inter-American Democratic Charter that guides the OAS. ”

Sir Sanders warned, “Guyana is in grave danger of being ostracised in the regional, hemispheric and global communities” and  Sir Ramphal stated that “CARICOM’s helpful intervention in trying to resolve the general elections process at the request of both president Granger and opposition leader, Bharat Jagdeo, was a ray of light.”

CARICOM was forced to withdraw a verification team, agreed by president Granger, after three days in which the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) questioned a Court order, and members of the president’s APNU-AFC party also sought injunctions from the Court.

Both Sir Ramphal and Sanders are figures of considerable international experience, with roots in Guyana. Sir Ramphal drafted Guyana’s independence constitution of 1966 and its Republic Constitution of 1970, but not the present Constitution of 1980, although he has made the point that all three Constitutions pledge Guyana’s determination to be a “democratic” state.

Genuine interpretations of the Constitution in the elections cases before it should, therefore, be determined based on the overarching pledge to democracy.

Related: Guyana needs to verify its electoral results



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