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United States imposes visa sanctions on Guyanese officials blocking democracy; calls on Granger to “step aside”

United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced that it would be imposing visa restrictions on officials of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for blocking the declaration of results from the national vote recount.

“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.

Mr. Pompeo also called on the “Granger government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside.”

In recent days, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield has been named by the Organisation of American States (OAS) for failing to comply with instructions of the GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh to submit a report based on the national vote recount.

Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, Keith Lowenfield.

Pro-coalition Election Commissioners Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman have argued that the recount order should be scrapped. Mr Lowenfield recently defied the Chairman’s request and submitted a report based on the 10 declarations, including the bloated Region Four declaration, a position that is almost identical to court action filed by a private citizen, Misenga Jones, and Mr. Alexander.

This is not the first time that Pompeo has spoken on the issue. In fact, earlier this month, Pompeo said he had instructed the US State Department to have all those who undermine Guyana’s democracy be held accountable.

“In contrast it has now been four months since Guyana’s elections…it is long past due for a peaceful transition of power. CARICOM and the OAS have certified the recount results. They should get on with it. I have instructed my Department to ensure that those who undermine Guyana’s democracy are held accountable”.

 

The three pro-APNU+AFC commissioners Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman in a conversation shortly after their meeting on Monday, 13th July, 2020.

Several State Department officials, including Pompeo have hinted that sanctions can be applied to those who have tried to impede free and fair elections here.

The announcement by the US came the same day that Guyana’s High Court held a case management conference to receive written submissions and schedule an oral hearing for Friday at 2 PM.

The Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire highlighted that the case by Jones essentially centres on whether the recount order is valid to prevent or allow a declaration of the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections; whether Section 22 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act of 2000 is unconstitutional; whether the 10 district declarations should be set aside and whether the issues have been already addressed by the Guyana Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).