US tells de facto Granger Govt to accept elections results and step aside

…slaps visa restrictions on those complicit in undermining democracy and their families
…Senate Foreign Affairs Committee supports sanctions

Having issued numerous warnings that the United States will not stand by and allow the undermining of democracy in Guyana, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced visa restrictions on those persons and their families who are involved in the rigging of the March 2, 2020 elections.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

Pompeo, during a press conference at the State Department on Wednesday, said these visa restrictions can also be applied to the immediate family members of those persons.
“Today I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible for, or complicit in, the undermining of democracy in Guyana. The immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to restrictions,” Pompeo said.
“The Granger Government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside,” Pompeo, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief in US President Donald Trump’s administration, added.

Clear message
In a subsequent statement from the US State Department, Pompeo explained that the visa restrictions are not about interference. He said they are rather meant to send a clear message that the US will not tolerate persons in Guyana trampling on democracy and the will of the people.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, James Risch

“On March 2 the Co-operative Republic of Guyana held national elections, but it has still not declared a winner.  All international observers of the vote count agreed that the manner in which votes were tabulated departed from established procedures. They unanimously agreed that a result based on these procedures would not be credible.
“The Organisation of American States and Caribbean Community concluded that the recount of votes, which concluded on June 7 and showed a victory for the opposition, reflected the will of the Guyanese people.
“Unfortunately, Guyana’s leaders have refused to accept this result,” he said in the statement.

Caretaker Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo

Pompeo made it clear that the US has no preference for any party, but merely wants that party selected based on a free, fair and credible process. As the recount has shown, that party is the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“In my public statements since the election, I have been very clear that the United States stands with the Guyanese people, and that there would be consequences for individuals who seek to undermine democracy,” Pompeo’s statement said.
“The events following the March 2 elections indicate that there are forces that have repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box. Guyana’s non-democratic trajectory is dangerous for its citizens and for the hemisphere as a whole. I hope that Guyana’s leaders understand what is at stake if they continue down this path,” Pompeo’s statement added.
This publication has received reports that the list includes several APNU/AFC Ministers, election officials, a prominent financier of the APNU/AFC Government, as well as judicial officers.

Happy birthday? The news came on the same day de facto President David Granger celebrated his 75th birthday

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee supports
Meanwhile, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee threw its support behind the steps being taken by the State Department. The committee, which is chaired by Senator James Risch, noted that it is “long past time” for the incumbent to begin the democratic transition of power.
“I applaud the State Department’s actions today to hold accountable Guyanese officials who have undermined democracy and delayed results from Guyana’s March elections. It’s long past time Guyanese authorities begin a democratic transition of power that reflects the confirmed results,” Risch said in his statement via his official social media account.

Granger’s “regret”
But Granger, who was celebrating his 75th birthday on Wednesday, in a statement, expressed regret over the visa restrictions announced by the US. According to the statement, Granger claims that he has always abided by the Constitution, and the electoral matter that APNU/AFC initiated is still in court.

GECOM CEO Keith Lowenfield and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo

“The Executive Branch has not participated in the undermining of the electoral process, and urges all countries interested in Guyana’s development to await the logical conclusion of the process, which is being managed by the Elections Commission in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana,” the statement said.
While the Ministry of the Presidency claimed that the Executive has never interfered in the running of GECOM, the case currently in the court was launched by an APNU/AFC supporter. The case has effectively put a stop to GECOM declaring the results of the recount, similar to what Eslyn David, an APNU/AFC supporter, tried to do previously.
Many have theorized, and the US itself has said, that visa restrictions are only the first step in imposing sanctions on a Government that is in the process of going rogue. US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch herself explained back in May that sanctions can range in seriousness from individual visa restrictions to financial sanctions that can impact the economy.

Election results
The national report had shown that the PPP/C won the elections with 233,336 votes, while the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 217,920. GECOM Chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh, had written to Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield on four occasions and directed him to prepare a final report based on the Recount.
Instead, Lowenfield, in the first instance, submitted a report invalidating over 115,000 voters based on unsubstantiated allegations of dead and migrant voters made by the APNU/AFC.
The GECOM Chair wrote Lowenfield again on three more occasions, directing him to submit his report; but, instead, he submitted a fraudulent report in which he included the fraudulent declarations of embattled returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, which inaccurately shows that the PPP/C gained 80,920 votes while the APNU/AFC received 116,941 votes in Region Four.
The inaccuracy of those numbers was widely proven during the recount exercise, as it was unearthed that Mingo had heavily inflated the votes in favour of the APNU/AFC to give that party a false victory.
And despite the lack of credibility in Mingo’s numbers, APNU/AFC supporter Misenga Jones went to court on Tuesday, seeking a court order compelling GECOM to use the declarations from the ten Returning Officers, which include Mingo’s, to make a final declaration.
Oral arguments in that case begin on Friday. (G3)