US recommits its support to strengthen Guyana’s electoral system
In light of the political crisis which engulfed Guyana following the David Granger-led Government’s refusal to accept the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, the United States said it was willing and ready to assist the country in whatever way it could to strengthen and modernise its electoral systems to make it more democratic and transparent.
“Well, we certainly stand ready to help,” United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in an interview with the State-owned National Communications Network (NCN) during his recent high-level visit to Guyana.
“We know what makes a free and fair election – the central idea of every person gets to vote who wants to vote and who is eligible, every vote gets counted in a way that everyone is satisfied and knows that their vote was counted.
“There is a fairness that’s associated with it (the process) and it comes with an openness and transparency, so that the rules, the leadership, the policies that flow from that government that is duly elected, fairly reflects what is it the people are demanding through their own democratic systems,” the US diplomat posited.
According to Pompeo, the US is very proud of countries such as Guyana which have now demonstrated that they have the capacity to hold free and fair elections and have a peaceful transition to power.
“We want to stand right alongside them and will help them to be successful,” the Secretary of State assured.
The high-level US official pointed to mechanisms and other election monitoring systems in the Caricom Region. He also cited the outstanding work done by multilateral institutions which could be useful to countries in the Region in strengthening their electoral management capacity.
Pompeo is the highest-ranking US Government official to have ever visited Guyana. He had played a prominent role in pushing for democracy and the will of the people to be respected in Guyana during the tumultuous five months following the March 2 polls.
During the period, Pompeo issued several statements urging then President Granger to respect the results of the elections and allow for a smooth transition of government to the duly-elected People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
After the Granger-led Administration insisted on holding on to power, Pompeo announced visa restrictions against “officials who were responsible for undermining democracy”.
Earlier this month, Pompeo had reached out to President, Dr Irfaan Ali to extend congratulations and to pledge the support of the US to Guyana on developmental issues.