GECOM must make democracy prevail – Sir Shridath Ramphal
…demands Guyana return to state of respect
Distinguished Guyanese-born diplomat, Sir Shridath Ramphal has called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to ensure that it upholds its constitutional duty and make democracy prevail in the country.
His comment came on the heels of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling that invalided the decision by Guyana’s Court of Appeal’s decision that “more votes cast” in the context of the Recount Order means “more valid votes cast”, saying the local court does not have jurisdiction to pronounce on the matter. The regional Court on Wednesday also invalidated the fraudulent report which was submitted last month by embattled Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, in which he disenfranchised more than 115,000 voters.
In an opinion piece published by Caribbean News Global on Friday, Sir Ramphal lauded the CCJ’s ruling, saying the rule of law has prevailed and that a darkening cloud has been dissipated by the regional Court’s unanimous jurisprudence.
“The whole region must be grateful for the Court’s authority and the calm and courageous manner of its exercise. Now Guyana must return to its state of respect for the established will of the people, and the new Government must be declared and installed. Caribbean democracy demands no less. Our country, our region, our hemisphere, our world – will not allow less. Guyana’s Elections Commission, GECOM, fortified by the Court’s judgement and the people’s demonstrated will, must make democracy prevail. That is its constitutional duty,” the Guyanese diplomat asserted.
With the exercise of this duty, Sir Ramphal, a former Commonwealth Secretary General and Foreign Affairs Minister of Guyana, posited that the process of healing in the country must begin.
True and as appropriate now
He reminded of his statement at the inauguration of the David Granger Administration in 2015, where he had said that citizens had aspired, at independence, to Guyana’s worthy destiny through being one nation and one people.
“We were one people then and have been ever since – save in our politics through which we deceive ourselves into believing that our motto of ‘one people’ is false. It is not false, and we must not let the vicissitudes of politics and the discord inherent in the democratic process diminish our ‘oneness’. At moments of transition like this it is the duty of all to work hard at destroying the myth of otherness and at cultivating by conscious effort the reality of oneness that is our historical birth right,” he had stated five years ago.
According to the Guyanese diplomat, those words are as true and as appropriate now as they were then.
“I urge them now, at this moment of transition, as I urged them then. Let us follow [those words] and save ourselves,” he implored.
Sir Ramphal had previously urged Guyana’s political leaders not to allow the country to descend into a “pit of lawlessness” and to ensure that good sense prevails.
“As Guyana nears the tipping point of its ‘elections crisis’ I plead with all my fellow Guyanese not to allow our motherland to descend into the darkness of denial of the rule of law and regularity… We owe it to ourselves, to the Caribbean Community which we have helped to bring to life, and to the wider global community whose respect we have earned as an enlightened democratic State – not to debase ourselves by descent into the pit of lawlessness,” he had said in a statement last month.
Following the CCJ’s ruling, GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, on Thursday directed the Chief Elections Officer to submit his report on Friday using the recount figures.
However, instead of submitting his report, Lowenfield on Friday morning asked for clarity on the instructed given to him. This resulted in the GECOM Chair adjourning the meeting of the seven-member Elections Commission until today at 11:00h.