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“Essential to ensure free and fair elections” -US, UK, EU

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union on Friday said they were ready to support Guyana in having free and fair general elections.

“It is now essential to ensure free and fair elections which we are pleased to support with elections assistance and monitoring along with other colleagues in the international community,” their top diplomatic envoys said in a joint statement.

In the past, the international community has funded several aspects of assistance to Guyana’s electoral machinery including goods and services.

American Ambassador, Sarah-Ann Lynch, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Ambassador Fernando Ponz Cantó said they noted President David Granger’s “announcement of a firm election date of March 2, 2020.

Granger is expected to dissolve Parliament and officially declare March 2, 2020 polling day after government procedurally goes back to the 65-seat National Assembly on October 10 to seek an extension. Granger has said he would be sticking to that date even if the opposition People’s Progressive Party does not vote for extending the life of the government.

The Commonwealth, an organisation made up of the UK and her former colonies around the world, has already indicated it was ready to assist the Guyana Elections Commission.

Following electoral reforms in 1990 for the 1992 general elections, government has been approving foreign observer missions from the Commonwealth, United Nations, Caribbean Community, Carter Centre, and the Union of South American Nations.

Domestic observers have in the past included the Electoral Assistance Bureau, Guyana Public Service Union and the Private Sector Commission.

Widespread electoral malpractices in Guyana between 1973 and 1985 had been recorded by several local and foreign stakeholders. There have also been claims of irregularities on polling day in the strongholds the two major political parties even after 1992, but some observers had said those had been insufficient to change the will of the people.

President Granger recently pledged to respect the outcome of next year’s general elections based on a credible voters’ list and other preparations by the Elections Commission.