US, UK Govts urge respect for results from national recount
…as USAID calls for Granger to allow transition of power
De facto President David Granger continues to face international pressure to concede his loss in the elections, with additional calls coming from acting United States (US) Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Administrator John Barsa.
In a statement from his official social media account on Monday, Kozak threw his support behind the Organisation of American States (OAS). The group, of which Guyana is a member, has been vociferous in calling for President Granger to concede and for the results of the recount to be used.
“We stand with OAS in calling for respect of the results of the national recount in Guyana,” Kozak said, going on to quote Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter which states that “The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it.”
Kozak and his superior, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have both been consistently urging for the will of the people to be respected. Calls for Granger to concede and for the results from the 33-day recount to be used have also come from several US Senators and Congressmen.
In what was at the time considered its most powerful missive yet, the OAS on Saturday made it clear that the only democratic solution in Guyana’s current electoral impasse is for the recount results to be respected.
The OAS – an international continental organisation of which Guyana is a member – had firmly asserted that no other figures that have been unilaterally derived can be the basis of the final declaration of the country’s presidential elections.
Further, the OAS – which fielded an electoral observer mission for Guyana’s March 2 polls – had harsh words for those who are acting against the interest of democracy, saying that it is past time for the newly elected Government to assume executive office.
“Let us be very clear – the only democratic solution for Guyana at this time is respect for the results of the National Recount. No other figures – neither those prepared prior to the recount, nor those recently invalidated by the Caribbean Court of Justice, nor any others that may be unilaterally devised by the Chief Elections Officer – can have any place in the final determination of results. A new electoral process is also an unacceptable solution,” the OAS had said in its statement in response to the latest developments in Guyana.
The OAS has subsequently said that it has initiated a process where the political impasse in Guyana will be addressed at the level of the organisation’s Permanent Council.
On Monday also UK Minister of State, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, supported the comments made by the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Minister for Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development, Baroness Elizabeth Sugg that Guyana has waited long enough for the election declaration. In a tweet on Saturday, Baroness Sugg said “Guyanese people have waited long enough for election results. Now all legal processes have been completed I urge Guyana Elections Commission to declare a result based on @CARICOMorg scrutinised recount. Every vote must count, all must respect those votes, regardless of the result.”
In support of Sugg’s statement, Ahmad tweeted: “Important point from @liz_sugg As fellow members of the #Commonwealth, we urge #Guyana to uphold its fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law and good governance. @commonwealthsec”
Meanwhile, USAID Acting Administrator Barsa also made use of his official social media account to urge Granger to facilitate a smooth transition of power to the winner of the March 2, 2020 polls, which the recount has shown is the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“Democracy requires that statesmen respect the will of the people. We call on Mr. Granger to put Guyana first and assure a swift, peaceful transition of power to the democratically elected winner of the March 2 election based on the full recount tabulation,” Barsa said.
Over the years, USAID has played a key role in development in Guyana, with the agency providing grants for the Government to use in the fight against Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
The agency has also provided funding for the construction of infrastructure in depressed communities and for programmes to combat gender-based violence and to provide opportunities for youths. Most recently, USAID served as the contact point for Guyana to receive US$1.7 million from the US Government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would not be the first time that President Granger has been called upon to behave like a statesman. Only on Saturday, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) had urged Granger to concede defeat like a statesman would and allow the country to return to the path of development and unity, starting with Granger reaching out and congratulating the winner of the elections, Dr Irfaan Ali.
The National Recount had shown that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won the elections with 233,336 votes while the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition garnered 217,920.