President says GECOM must determine how CARICOM recount team will work
His Excellency Brigadier David Granger
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
The General and Regional Elections of 2nd March 2020 were conducted peacefully and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Guyana. The events, thereafter, have marred the excellent work of the Elections Commission.
The electoral process, as initiated by the Elections Commission, is incomplete. The Elections Commission is the sole authority for making a declaration of the results of the General and Regional Elections.
Confusion ensued at the Office of the Returning Officer for District Four in the wee hours of Wednesday, 4th March 2020 as a result of an invasion of the premises by political elements.
Statements following the events of 4th March by the observer missions also created uncertainty in the minds of the citizenry.
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), so far approached the Supreme Court on three separate occasions to obstruct the work of the Elections Commission. Those actions coupled with the calls for recount, allowed for the Supreme Court to determine the way forward. This was done.
The Chairperson of the Elections Commission, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, has stated publicly that she will abide by the ruling of the Court. I, too, have said that I will abide by the ruling of the Court.
As result of the delays and statements by the observer missions, the Caribbean Community sent a five-member delegation of Prime Ministers to Guyana on a two-day mission on 11-12 March to work with stakeholders to craft a path forward out of the present political situation.
Prime Minister of Barbados, the Right Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, who is also Chairperson of CARICOM, was accompanied by Prime Ministers Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In response to the CARICOM Initiative by the five Prime Ministers, I agreed that a ‘total national recount’ could be done to satisfy the questions raised by the observers and the citizenry.
I had a teleconference with Prime Minister Mia Mottley Today, 15th March 2020. I proposed that the CARICOM Initiative should operate within the legal framework of the Constitution of Guyana and respect the role of the Elections Commission and the rulings of the Supreme Court. It will not act independently.
I urged, also, that the Commission be allowed to craft the Terms of Reference governing the relationship between the CARICOM Initiative and the Elections Commission.
The Organisational Structure which should embody supervisory and technical elements should be determined by the Elections Commission.
The Government of Guyana looks forward to a ‘total national recount’ being completed as soon as possible under the auspices of the Elections Commission.
Guyanese, I iterate that I have no role to play in the work of the Elections Commission. I cannot bring the process to an end; the Elections Commission must be allowed to do its work.
I am committed to the rule of law and the Constitution. I respect the integrity and autonomous nature of the Elections Commission. I will abide by the declarations of the Elections Commission as I have abided by the rulings of the Court.
I urge you to be patient as we comply with the rulings of the Court and the decisions of the Commission. I advise you to avoid provocation by certain lawless elements who committed acts of violence against innocent school children, nurses and police officers.
Guyanese, as we await the conclusion of the electoral process, we must be reminded of the very difficult public health environment occasioned by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
I appeal to the public to remain calm and to implement all the advisories relating to personal hygiene, social distancing and overall infection prevention and control.