Observers stunned as Dr Karen Cummings threatens to revoke accreditation


International and local observers were stunned Thursday morning and reacted angrily when the Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings said she was told to revoke their accreditation but that she wasn’t in agreement that should be done; she did not say who gave her those instructions.

The observers saw her statement as a threat even though she tried to take back the statement and apologised and thanked them for their work.

“I think you should stop; you have been given an avenue to exit. I suggest that you take that,” said Mr Teni Housty, President of the Guyana Bar Association, which is the representative body of the attorneys in Guyana.

The meeting was called in a room at the Command Centre of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown. As the events unfolded, the Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers is seen entering the room; she handed Dr Cummings a mobile phone for her to speak with someone after which she left the room.

A snippet from the video of Dr Karen Cummings meeting with international observers

But just before Dr Cummings left, she was confronted by former Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur, who heads the Commonwealth Observer Mission.

“I speak on behalf of the Commonwealth, the largest organisation of people in the world, and I am not going to have, not me, the Commonwealth disrespected by a threat to take away the accreditation,” Arthur declared.

Even as Dr Cummings suggested that she should take back her words and apologised, Mr Arthur continued that he would speak with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and that in doing so he has a duty to report to her accurately.

“…I cannot now avoid speaking accurately,” Arthur stated.

He held out his accreditation badge, telling Cummings that he would volunteer to hand it back.

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