Revoke visas of those denying Carter Center entry – former AG
With the national recount expected to begin in two days, the Carter Center observers’ entry into Guyana has not been approved and former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall is urging the various High Commissioners and Ambassadors to have the visas of those responsible for this denial revoked.
Further, he said that these individuals should be blacklisted from travelling to the United States, Canada, Britain and European countries.
In a post on social media on Sunday night, Nandlall stated, “US Embassy, Canadian and British High Commissions and the EU must revoke the visas now of all persons responsible for denying Carter Center permission to observe the recount, including, members of the COVID-19 Task Force and blacklist them from travelling to their respective countries!”
His comments come on the heels of revelations from the United States Embassy that a request for observers from the Carter Center to be allowed entry into Guyana on a May 4 flight was denied. According to the Embassy, a diplomatic note was sent seeking the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in “obtaining permission for flights on May 4, 2020, and May 30, 2020.”
“These flights serve a dual purpose, with the inbound flight on May 4 carrying accredited international observer missions to Guyana for the recount process and the outbound flights serving to repatriate US nationals, legal permanent residents and third-country nationals,” the US Embassy explained.
Copies of this diplomatic note were dispatched to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority accompanied by a request to advance the issue to Guyana’s COVID-19 Task Force with assurances that the observers intend to comply with the COVID-19 testing and quarantine measures. “The US Embassy was informed on Saturday, May 2 that the incoming May 4 flight had been approved by the Task Force, but not the arrival of the observers. Subsequently, we have sought reconsideration of this matter at the highest levels in recognition that the observer missions illustrate the commitment of the caretaker Government and the international community to a free, fair and transparent recount process,” the Embassy stated.
This move to deny entry of the diplomatic watchdog body comes days after US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch reiterated the US’ position when it comes to threats of sanctions against individuals in Guyana who benefit from electoral fraud.
During a televised interview on News Room on April 30, Ambassador Lynch stated, “You don’t just get to call yourself a democracy, ” later adding that the “US is certainly watching this unfold, and we are watching it carefully both here locally and back in Washington…the Secretary of State has said that there will be serious consequences if the rule of law is not adhered to.” She had noted that the specifics of the sanctions to be imposed, if any, would be dealt with back in Washington “at the highest levels of the State Department.” Further, she had stressed, “We stand by our word.”
It should be noted that the Carter Center is among the group of international observers that have been publicly critical of the lack of credibility of the highly contentious Region Four count that is at the centre of Guyana’s current political turmoil. In its recount of the March 2 polling day and the events that followed, the Carter Center had stated that “Election day proceeded smoothly.” However, they had noted that tallying went astray in Region Four when, after only half the results for the region had been tabulated in the presence of observers, the Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo abruptly announced the rest of the results, “which indicated that the ruling party had come from behind to win the election.”
The Center, in addition to other international observer missions, subsequently denounced the declaration of unverified results, saying they lacked credibility, and called for a return to the verification process. Due to concerns about their safety due to harassment by Government supporters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had departed Guyana but remained resolute that they are prepared to return to see the electoral process through to the end.