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CARICOM to meet next week over Guyana electoral impasse

by Samuel Sukhnandan

The headquarters of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) based at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, Guyana.

A special meeting to discuss the Guyana electoral impasse will be convened by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) next week, Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has said.

The CARICOM chair made this disclosure during a live radio interview on Jamaica’s Edge 105.3 FM with Richie B, where he repeated calls for the election results to be declared in accordance with the CARICOM-supervised recount.

“I was in discussions with the Secretary-General yesterday (Wednesday) and we agreed that we would await a decision  by the courts and then we will have a meeting earlier in the week, maybe Monday,” the chairman said.

Chief Justice Roxanne George will Friday hear the case filed by APNU/AFC supporter Misenga Jones seeking to block  the declaration of the election results based on the recount figures.

Dr. Gonsalves described the electoral crisis in Guyana as a “blot” for Guyana and CARICOM, while maintaining that the  country is a signatory to CARICOM’s Charter of Civil Society which he asserted it must abide by.

While that charter speaks to ensuring “the existence of a fair and open democratic system through the holding of free  elections,” it does not carry any legal grounding nor any penalties for non-adherence.

Despite this, however, the CARICOM chair noted that certain actions could be taken by the regional body, but  declined to say what are the options available to the organisation headquartered in Georgetown.

“We haven’t met as leaders… I wouldn’t be able, without a meeting of the heads to speak on that, and it would be  premature for me to speak on that,” Dr Gonsalves said during the live radio interview.

On Wednesday, the CARICOM chair voiced concerns over the prolonged election process in Guyana, saying “a rogue  clique within Guyana cannot be allowed to disrespect or disregard, with impunity, the clear, unambiguous ruling of the  Caribbean Court of Justice.

Dr. Gonsalves said in a normal democracy what should be a straightforward matter of counting votes, “has become the equivalent of  a long-running soap opera, pregnant with real danger for the people of Guyana and the Caribbean Community.”

“The entire world realizes that a small group of persons, in and out of Guyana, are seeking to hijack, in  plain sight, the elections, and thus the country. Competitive elections deliver, necessarily, winners and losers.”

A high-level CARICOM team which had scrutinised the recount of the more than 460,000 valid votes cast had said the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections reflected the choice of the electorate in who should form the next government.

Other CARICOM leaders, including former CARICOM Chair and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Motley and Prime Minister of
Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit have also joined in calls for an end to the electoral impasse in Guyana.