Bipartisan US Congress calls on Granger to accept recount results
…also for int’l observers to return and certify
Following pronouncement by the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) that the results from the ongoing recount of the votes cast at the March 2 elections will not be credible, five bipartisan members of the United States Congress have since written caretaker President David Granger, who is also the leader of the coalition, urging him to accept the results emanating from the recount process.
In a letter dated June 4, 2020, bipartisan representatives Alcee L Hastings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna E Shalala of the Democratic Party and Republican Paul Cook underscored the importance of President Granger recognising the recount results.
Granger’s APNU/AFC coalition on Wednesday said that the results from the recount “cannot be considered credible because of the high incidence of fraud…”
The incumbent party has been claiming that votes were cast in the names of dead and migrated persons – something which has been proven false as scores of persons came forward to refute this new narrative by the coalition, which also wants the March 2 elections to be voided.
However, the bipartisan Congress members told Granger in the letter that, “Your leadership role during the recount process is critical to Guyana’s continued respect for the rule of law. Your place in Guyana’s history will be secured by ensuring an international-recognised Declaration of Results consistent with the laws of Guyana.”
According to the US Congress representatives, they hope the recount will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner instilling confidence in the results and Guyana’s democratic institutions – something which they say will be supported by credible international observers who can verify the integrity of the recount and the final results.
To this end, this group of bipartisan US Congress members joined mounting calls for the incumbent President to allow accredited international observers to return to oversee the recount exercise, which is now nearing completion.
The Carter Center and the International Republican Institute (IRI) were denied permission by the coalition Administration for them to return to Guyana to observe the recount. The caretaker administration cited its COVID-19 emergency measures, which included the closure of Guyana’s two international airports to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, as grounds for refusal.
However, many stakeholders, including other Western countries, have stated that the Government could put special arrangements in place for the observers’ return as was done for the high-level Caribbean Community (Caricom) team that is here to scrutinise the process.
In their letter to the Guyanese Head of State, the US Congress representatives expressed understanding of the many unprecedented steps were taken by his caretaker Administration to slow the spread of the virus. But in the same vein, they noted that this must be done in cognisance of “essential” work such as ensuring the credibility of the recount exercise.
“Even so, all countries implementing measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have also acknowledged that some work is so essential that it must continue. The legitimacy of elections are essential to the health of democracies everywhere and credible international observers will ensure that the people of Guyana and their friends around world can trust and be proud of the final result in the ongoing recount,” the group outlined in its correspondence.
These five US politicians have now joined another group of bipartisan Congress members as well as Senators who have been vocal about Guyana’s prolonged electoral process, pressing for the process to be transparent and credible. Only last month, Congress representatives Albio Sires, Gregory Meeks and Sanford Bishop of the Democratic Party and Francis Rooney, Jeff Duncan and Jenniffer González-Colón of the Republican Party called for the return of the Carter Center, which was here for the March 2 elections, but has since found itself locked out of Guyana as a result of the pandemic.
In fact, the Center had even dispatched its observation agent to the Miami International Airport on May 4 with the hopes of joining an empty relief flight that was heading to Guyana to repatriate US citizens who were stranded here, but permission was not granted by the Guyana Government.
The Carter Center, in a subsequent statement after being denied permission a second time, expressed disappointment at not being able to return to complete its mission.
“While noting the positive contribution that each of these actors is making to foster transparency, the Center is disappointed that the Government of Guyana chose not to demonstrate a genuine commitment to transparency by ensuring that all duly-accredited organisations, including the Carter Center, be allowed to conduct their work,” it stated.