…says it was he who denied Carter Center entry for recount
It was not the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Task Force that was written to and denied the travel request for the observer from The Carter Center, but caretaker President David Granger. The pejorative revelation about the reason for the absence of the US-based democracy watchdog group came from caretaker Minister of Public Security and A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Ramjattan is part of the COVID-19 Task Force, which also comprises of Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence; Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan; Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings; Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, and Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry.
Recently, The Carter Center revealed that while they were willing and hoping to return to Guyana to conclude
their observer mission in the 2020 General and Regional Elections by observing the recount, this was being impeded by the lack of approvals for their observers to travel to Guyana.
On Monday the Center issued a statement where they disclosed that one of their observers travelled to Miami in hopes of coming to Guyana on a flight that came to Guyana to take US citizens home.
The observer, however, was unable to travel to Guyana.
The United States Embassy had said that permission was sought from the COVID-19 Task Force through the Foreign Affairs Ministry for the flight to land and for the observer to enter Guyana on the said flight.
However, approval was granted for the flight but not the observer.
On Friday when asked about the reason for the Task Force denying The Carter Center’s travel request, Ramjattan disclosed that it was not the Task Force that was responsible for the denial but the President.
“I am part of the National COVID-19 Task Force…As far as I am aware, there was a request, not to the Task Force, but to the President from The Carter Center,” he told media operatives, moments after exiting the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, where he had been observing the recount process briefly.
According to Ramjattan, “I understand that there was a ruling in relation to flights coming into Guyana, then there was an IRI [International Republican Institute] issue and that is above me right now…some other Ministry is dealing with it,” he said, adding, “that was in relation to some flight that was coming in from Eastern Airlines.”
Ramjattan opted not to speak further on the matter saying, “I do not want to get too much into that at this stage.”
The fettering of the observer group—which still has accreditation—had attracted great criticism from the international community and local groups.
It ought to be noted that The Carter Center was one of the observer groups that were very vocal in speaking out against the attempts to declare the results of the March 2 election based on the “fraudulent declarations” that were made by Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo.
The Center had also candidly stated that the elections were very important as control of the newfound oil revenues were at stake, adding that the court case that was brought up by APNU candidate Ulita Moore against a National Recount was an attempt to frustrate the electoral process.