Supporting Caricom in recount is commitment to credible, transparent elections results – Canadian diplomat
With international pressure continuing to mount over the lack of credible and transparent election results in Guyana, the Government of Canada has taken a step further and assisted the high-level team fielded by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in getting here to scrutinise the recount process.
The three-member regional team arrived in Guyana on Friday to oversee the recount of all the ballots cast on March 2 – exactly two months ago. While no date has been set for the process to commence, with the Caricom team here it is expected to kick off in the new week.
In a statement on Friday, Caricom Chair, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said: “The Community thanks the Government of Canada for the generous support it has provided to Caricom for this initiative.”
Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee told Guyana Times when contacted on Friday that since Canada has publicly spoken out about the lack of credible and transparent electoral process, she reached out to Caricom’s Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque to lend assistance in ensuring the participation of the Caricom-fielded team in the national recount.
“By supporting this high-level team to come to Guyana, it is an expression of Canada’s support for credible and transparent recount process to finalise the elections results… We are exactly expressing that [need for credibility and transparency] by supporting that the Caricom team to return to Guyana. We are putting our money where our mouth is by saying we’re supporting this team in this process so that we can have final credible and transparent elections results. This is what Canada has been calling for all along and this is why Canada is supporting this initiative,” she explained.
In addition to the flight, Canada will also be supporting the regional team’s participation in the recount process.
According to Chatterjee, who is also Canada’s Ambassador to Caricom, this assistance is also a demonstration of Canada’s support of Caricom’s leadership. She noted that the initiative to have the Caricom team here in Guyana to scrutinise the recount was supported by all the Heads of State within the community.
The High Commissioner went on to note that it was not an easy task to get the high-level team here, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant closure of Guyana’s borders including to incoming flights to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Caricom Secretariat, which is headquartered in Guyana at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, had to seek special permission from the Guyana Government for the team to be flown in. They were transported via a chartered flight by domestic airline, Trans Guyana Airways.
Nevertheless, High Commissioner Chatterjee said that the Canadian Government was delighted to support the regional body, as it has done in the past and will continue to do in the future, especially in this important initiative that is seeking to finally bring an end to the electoral process which has been languishing for two months now without any results.
“The people of Guyana need this election results to be finalised. There is too much uncertainty, people are impatient and they want to get this over with but they want a credible and transparent process. We have always said that every vote must be counted and we’re looking forward to the successful conclusion to this election. It’s now been two months,” she lamented.
In an interview with this newspaper earlier this month, the Canadian diplomat underscored the importance of having independent observers to oversee the national recount.