Last Updated on Thursday, 29 June 2023, 21:57 by Denis Chabrol
United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch on Thursday noted that the June 12 Local Government Elections (LGE) were free and fair.
“Guyana has a had a local election, which we observed, and was widely viewed as free and fair,” she told the 247th US Independence Anniversary reception.
Among those present were Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and several opposition lawmakers as well as General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Bharrat Jagdeo.
Mr Norton had attributed his A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) loss of seats as well as an increase in votes for the People’s Progressive Party in a number of traditional strongholds to bribery by cash, contracts and part-time jobs. Mr Jagdeo had dismissed those accusations.
The opposition had said it would continue to pressure government to amend the law and Guyana’s constitution to allow for a clean-up of the voters’ list. The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the governing party are on record as saying that there are sufficient safeguards to avoid voter impersonation and multiple voting.
The American envoy singled out the role of countries like the US in pushing the importance of democratic norms to other countries. “Strong democracies do not just focus internally. They also project their values and their democratic principles externally to help strengthen other nations in their region and across the globe,” she said.
In that regard, she hailed Guyana’s role in regional food security as well as its first-time membership of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member. “These are strong signs, ladies and gentlemen, of confidence by the international community that Guyana wants to contribute to regional and global efforts to strengthen international partnership, the rule of law and to promote peace and stability around the globe,” Ambassador Lynch said.
Well-known Guyanese human rights lawyer and former judge, Dr Arif Bulkan has been appointed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.