The ceremony took place in Panama City in the context of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, to be held on April 10 and 11. The Secretary General expressed his hope that “this will be a very good moment for Guyanese democracy,” and his conviction that, “as always, the government of Guyana will give the Mission all the facilities they need to do their job well.”
In addition, the Secretary General recalled that this will be the fifth Electoral Observation Mission that the OAS has deployed in Guyana, and announced that he has designated as Chief of Mission the former Foreign Minister and Ambassador of Belize to the OAS, Lisa Shoman. Finally, the leader of the hemispheric institution thanked the countries that have expressed their commitment to support the Mission, and urged other member and observer countries to follow their example.
For his part, Ambassador Karran highlighted “the role that the OAS plays in strengthening democracy in the Hemisphere because democracy and good governance are fundamental to the development agenda, to human rights, to security and to so many other important areas of work.” In addition, he called the Observation Missions of the OAS “one of the areas of greatest success” of the Organization.
“This election that is about to take place on May 11 is going to be a very pivotal election in Guyana, and will have far reaching consequences for the governance of the country irrespective of the result,” said Ambassador Karran, who added that “this makes the role of the Mission much more important.”
The OAS has observed elections in Guyana in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011. In the general elections of May 11, voters will elect 65 representatives of the National Assembly and members of the ten Regional Democratic Councils, as well as the President of the country. The Mission will be deployed approximately one week prior to the elections.