End electoral debacle in Guyana

Dear Editor,

Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) wishes to join those who have expressed alarm at the failure of the incumbent ruling party in Guyana and its supporters to accept the result of the recount of the votes in the general and regional elections in Guyana and to allow the process for the appointment and installation of a new president and Government in Guyana to be implemented in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.

The elections in question were held on March 2, 2020 so that the Guyanese people have been without a Parliament for the past four months and, indeed, for a much longer period because the previous Parliament had become hamstrung because one member had switched support from the governing party.

Despite a clear ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is Guyana’s highest court, that Guyana’s Election Commission should be presented with the result of the recount of votes, the chief elections officer has refused to do so, and another supporter of the governing party has now returned to court in an attempt to further delay and thwart the process.

This situation represents a major challenge to the democratic process in Guyana and, by extension, in the entire Caricom region. It is clear that one party wants to have the results based on the recount thrown aside so that another set of figures can be used, or, as is more likely, the elections will have to be rerun. This is despite that there are legal recourses available to them through the election petition courts.

CAFFE urges the ruling party in Guyana to see that the procedure envisaged by the CCJ in its ruling is followed to allow for the swift conclusion of this increasingly farcical situation. We note, as well, that the chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, has issued a strong statement asking for the results of the recount to be respected. We invite other Caricom leaders to join in his call. We also ask for all organisations in civil society in the region to register the strongest condemnation of the conduct of those officials in Guyana who have been delaying the declaration of a result in the election.

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