US likely sanctions on Guyana politicians, electoral officials over unverified election results

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2020, 21:14 by Writer

Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak.

The United States (U.S.) on Thursday hinted at possible sanctions on Guyanese officials and politicians if the results of the March 2, 2020 general elections are not verified.

Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak warned on Twitter that “Under U.S. law and practice those who participate and benefit from electoral fraud, undermine democratic institutions and impede a peaceful transition of power can be subject to a variety of consequences.”

Back in 2001, the U.S. had suspended the visas of all government officials after the then government had refused to take back several Guyanese deportees, citing lack of identity documents to prove their nationality.

In neighbouring Venezuela, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions on Nicolás Maduro over a “sham” election. Those sanctions include the freezing of his personal assets under U.S. jurisdiction, and bar Americans from transacting business with him.

Mr Kozak says the U.S. joins Guyanese and the international community in calling on the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) to “follow accepted procedures and allow international election observers to verify the results.” Only a limited number of foreign and local observers were allowed inside the Region Four Returning Officer’s Office at Ashmin’s Building, Hadfield and High Streets, Georgetown, on Thursday. But, the tabulation process never got underway because the Returning Officer began using spreadsheets instead of Statements of Poll. The Chairman of Gecom has asked for time to obtain and study the decision by the Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire before deciding on the way forward.

Kozak added that “de facto regimes do not receive the same treatment from us as democratically elected governments”, a possible hint that the U.S. will not recognise the David Granger-led administration if he is sworn in for a second straight term without the results of the March 2 elections not being properly verified before they are declared.

Granger’s A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) and Bharrat Jagdeo’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP) have both claimed victory at the polls. Granger has publicly committed that he would abide by the Court ruling, Guyana’s constitution and Gecom’s declaration.