Guyana govt regrets US visa sanctions over election results

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 July 2020, 13:26 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government on Wednesday expressed regret at the United States (US) decision to impose visa sanctions on Guyanese officials who are preventing the use of the national vote recount data to declare the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

In a brief statement that repeatedly referred to the Executive Arm,  the David Granger administration denied playing any role in tinkering with the work of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

“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,”  government said.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s announcement strongly indicated that officials of the Elections Commission are being targeted by the visa sanctions. “Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on the individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana. Immediate family members and such persons may also be subject  to restrictions,” he said.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has named the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield as someone who is allegedly obstructing the declaration of election results based on the vote recount data. He has instead refused to comply with the GECOM Chairman’s request and has instead submitted a report based on the 10 district declarations which includes the contentious bloated declaration for Region Four.

The three other pro-coalition election commissioners- Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman- have effectively endorsed the Chief Election Officer’s stance.

In clear reference to a private High Court action by Ms. Jones, the government indicated the case over whether to use the recount or the 10 declarations was before the court. A decision is likely on Sunday.

“The matter affecting the outcome of Guyana’s elections is still before courts, which is entirely the responsibility of the judiciary. No declaration has been made. The Executive arm has not interfered in the functioning of the Elections Commission,” government said.