Guyana slams international community over election results

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 July 2020, 14:36 by Denis Chabrol

Dr. Karen Cummings being sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Guyana’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Karen Cummings has told the Organisation of American States (OAS) that her country’s laws and court decisions would “alone” be used to determine the outcome of the general and regional elections.

In apparent reference to calls by the OAS for President David Granger to concede defeat and peacefully hand over power to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the Foreign Minister said the “independent” Guyana Elections Commission is expected to declare results based on Guyana’s constitution, Court rulings and the advice of the Chief Elections Officer “which must be consistent with the laws of Guyana.”

“Chair the laws of Guyana and the electoral remedies alone will determine the results of the General and Regional Elections of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” she said in the letter in which she accepted the invitation to participate in Tuesday’s meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.

The Foreign Minister slammed  as “premature” the decision by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, and other members of the international community to intervene, to impact the outcome of the elections, while the Supreme Court is still to rule, and the Election Commission still to make a declaration of the results.

Dr. Cummings told Ambassador Cordero, we all agree that international monitors are valued during an election but “dictating a desired outcome that departs from the legal mechanisms in place to  resolve electoral disputes is a disservice to the good people of Guyana, and a vile and sinister attempt to sully the will of the people.”

She indicated that the results of her country’s general and regional elections will be declared only using valid votes and in keeping with the laws of her country.

“Chair, the government will let the process pan out and further that the Representation of the People’s Act allows for every vote to be counted on the merit of votes that are valid and those that are invalid,” she told Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council, Ambassador Luis Cordero in letter dated July 19, 2020.

The meeting was  called at the request of the OAS Secretary-General, Luis Almagro to discuss the electoral situation in Guyana.

Guyana’s Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire on Monday ruled that the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield must comply with instructions of the seven-member GECOM and the results from the 34-day national vote recount must be used to declare the winner of the March 2 polls. Her decision is expected to be appealed to the Guyana Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

If those figures of 460,352 votes are used, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will be declared the winner.

The Chief Elections Officer has so far sent three reports to the GECOM Chairman- two based on the 10 declaration and one with subtracted votes from the national recount- to  hand a victory to Granger’s A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).

The Foreign Minister told the OAS Chairman of the Permanent Council that numerous irregularities and anomalies – including ballots cast in favour of persons who were either dead or absent from the jurisdiction on Election Day, missing statements of poll, poll books, and other statutory documents – were recorded during the national vote recount.

The Chief Elections Officer at the conclusion of the Recount, provided a Report to the Election Commission as required by Recount Order No.60  of 2020.  Dr. Cummings said Mr. Lowenfield indicated in his report that, “On the basis of votes counted and the information
furnished from the Recount. It cannot be ascertained that the results met the standard of fair and  credible elections”.