New US Ambassador alludes to ‘free and fair elections’ in Guyana
Newly assigned United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch presented her Letters of Credence to President David Granger Wednesday morning and noted that the US Government will continue to push for free and fair elections in Guyana.
The accreditation ceremony took place at the Ministry of the Presidency, Vlissengen Road in the presence of the Ambassador’s spouse Dr. Kevin Healy, Deputy Chief of Mission Terry Steers-Gonzalez and Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Audrey Waddle.
In presenting her credentials, the US Ambassador said, “during our long relationship with Guyana, we have witnessed significant progress. We have seen a strengthening of democratic processes and political institutions, along with broader political participation and citizen representation.
“Moving forward, we will continue to encourage genuinely free and fair elections, freedom of speech and assembly, multiparty representation, and a constitutional judiciary process.”
The Ambassador’s comments come at a time when President Granger is under pressure to name a date for general and regional elections following the December 21 passage of the No-Confidence motion against his Government.
The constitution dictates that elections should be held by March 21 which means that there are only eight days remaining.
An extension to the timeline can only be done with the support of a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and for that to happen the Government will need the Opposition to vote.
A meeting between President Granger and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Friday last ended without a definite date for elections, with Government commissioners insisting on house to house registration that could put a date for elections at year end.
Meanwhile, in response to the US Ambassador, President Granger reiterated that the US and Guyana have always respected the “non-interference” in each other’s internal affairs.
“Our relations are founded on mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for treaties and international law and the maintenance of regional peace and security,” the President said.
For more than five decades Guyana and the United States saw cooperation in energy, the health system, public security and youth empowerment. It is expected that the duties of the New Ambassador will enhance relations within the two countries.
“As I begin my time here as the representative of the American people, I am impressed by the history of collaboration and exchange between our two countries. Together we have blazed new trails in industry and commerce, fought to safeguard the local biodiversity, and made strides to improve the health and safety of all Guyanese,” the US envoy said.
The Ambassador said over the years they have witnessed significant progress in the country and they are proud to partner with Guyana.
“As we work together to achieve our common goals, we are mindful of the ever-increasing importance of Guyana within the larger Caribbean region, as a leader in economic growth and in combatting organized crime.”
With the rooted mutual respect between the two countries, the Ambassador said there will be continued emphasis on citizen security and territorial integrity of Guyana’s borders.
Meanwhile, President Granger said that Guyana is committed in ensuring that the Caribbean and South America remains a zone of peace.
He said Guyana looks forward to the continuous support of the US to protect its economy and territory in areas such as trafficking in persons, weapons and narcotics, money laundering, illegal migration and environmental hazards.
“The capabilities of criminal cartels could exceed those small states such as Guyana. We must seek support through partnership with other states which have an interest in preserving the Caribbean and South American continent,” President Granger said.
According to the US State Department, Ms. Lynch is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and holds masters degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the National War College.
She most recently served as the Acting Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Ms. Lynch has also served as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for LAC; USAID Mission Director in Iraq; and the Director of the Office of Iraq and Arabian Peninsula Affairs in USAID’s Middle East Bureau.