Caribbean News, Latin America News:
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. July 15, 2020: Global pressure mounted on Guyana’s caretaker APNU/AFC Coalition government Wednesday, on the same day another one of its party supporters launched another lawsuit in court to block the March 2, 2020 recount election results from being officially announced.
Just hours after U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo announced visa restrictions “on individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana,” heads of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, lauded the move even as INews Guyana reports that UK authorities have also begun discussions on imposing sanctions as well.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Jim Risch applauded the State Dept’s actions in a tweet.
“It’s long past time Guyanese authorities begin a democratic transition of power that reflects the confirmed results,” Risch who had previously joined other US Senators in calling on caretaker President David Granger, who turned 75 Wednesday, to honor the will of the people and concede defeat at the March 2 General and Regional Elections, added.
Congressmembers Albio Sires, (D-NJ), and Gregory Meeks, (D-NY), Chairman and Vice Chair respectively of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, again urged the Guyana Elections Commission, (GECOM), to promptly issue a Declaration of Results based on the results of the national recount.
“We condemn all efforts to undermine the credibility of the March 2nd election, including recent actions taken by the Chief Elections Officer to effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters and manipulate the vote count,” the statement added. “Guyana’s leaders must prioritize national unity and the long-term health of Guyana’s democratic institutions and abide by the will of the Guyanese people, as reflected in the recount results.”
The US sanctions, ranging from terminated visas to frozen assets, are expected to be imposed in phases, starting from the upper echelon of the party.
The UK government also said it is discussing similar sanctions and those measures will take immediate effect once they are announced. Canadian authorities, however, made no exact mentions of sanctions but hinted in a statement released by the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that “Canada will continue to work with its partners in the international community, using all tools at our disposal, to demand a swift and transparent conclusion to the election process and hold accountable those who prevent it.”
Canadian authorities, however, made no exact mentions of sanctions but hinted in a statement released by the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that “Canada will continue to work with its partners in the international community, using all tools at our disposal, to demand a swift and transparent conclusion to the election process and hold accountable those who prevent it.”
The Brazilian government also urged the Guyanese political forces to respect the popular will emanating from the elections, in line with the recent sentence of the Caribbean Court of Justice, in order to guarantee the prompt official announcement of the country’s new representatives. And Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, tweeted: “Democracy in #Guyana calls for the commitment of everyone to ensure respect for the will of the people expressed in the elections.”
For their part, the government in a statement said it “regrets the decision taken by the United States Department of State.”
“The Executive Branch has not participated in the undermining of the electoral process and urges all countries interested in Guyana’s development to await the logical conclusion of the process which is being managed by the Elections Commission, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana,” the statement said. “The Executive arm has not interfered in the functioning of the Elections Commission.”
Guyanese voters went to the polls on March 2nd but to date there has been no official elections results.
A certified recount of the election results from March 2nd showed that the country’s main opposition Peoples Progressive Party/Civic, (PPP/C,), led by Dr. Irfaan Ali, won the elections with 233,336 votes, while the incumbent A Partnership For National Unity/Alliance For Change, (APNU/AFC) garnered 217,920 votes. The results were certified by the country’s Guyana Election Commission in its recount, overseen by international and regional observers, including CARICOM scrutineers. But the incumbent party has so far refused to allow the elections commission to officially declare the results.
On Wednesday, a case taken to the High Court by an APNU/AFC supporter to question whether Order 60 governing the recount of votes from the March 2nd general elections was “valid and is valid to permit the declaration” from the March 2nd 2020 elections based on the recount.
Chief Justice Roxane George yesterday said on a virtual hearing, that oral arguments will begin on Friday afternoon, July 17th at 2 p.m. and a decision could be handed down by Sunday, July 19, 2020.
The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) claimed again on Wednesday that President Granger is at the helm of the conspiracy to rig the 2020 elections, and that the Guyanese public and the international community are not fooled.
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