Private Sector bodies write CARICOM chair to continue engagement with Guyana
The Private Sector Commission and a host of private sector bodies have written to Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to continue to engage with Guyana on the elections process.
Please see below the full letter:
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned, representing a wide cross section of civil society and private sector organizations in Guyana, are committed to maintaining democracy and the rule of law, including free and fair elections and the entitlement of all citizens to human and political rights free of discrimination of any kind.
We are strong supporters of the principles and values established in the United Nations Charter and declarations of the UN, including the declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly on 24th September 2012 which reaffirmed that: “human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and that they belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations”.
Further, as a nation, the people of Guyana have pledged “to forge a system of governance that promotes concerted effort and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law”. That pledge is enshrined in our Nation’s constitution and it reflects our desire for democracy and the rule of law, including free, fair and credible general elections that allows for a peaceful transition of government.
We are now deeply concerned that our democracy is being undermined, the rule of law ignored, and our elections process compromised by wrongful behaviour. We are particularly grateful to you, Prime Minister, and to your colleague Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), for your valiant efforts to save our democracy and to ensure peace and stability in our country.
You and other CARICOM Heads of Government are aware that the international, hemispheric, regional and local observers of the Guyana elections of March 2nd, 2020 have all concluded that the counting of the ballots cast in the election by the Guyana Electoral Commission (GECOM) was not credible.
We were elated and hopeful when you led a team, comprising four other CARICOM Prime Ministers, that brokered an agreement between President David Granger, the leader of APNU-AFC, the leader of the Opposition Bharat Jagdeo, resulting in an Aide Memoire, signed by both leaders on 16 March 2020, and the Terms of Reference prepared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to permit a High Level Team from CARICOM to supervise the recounting of the ballots, not only in Region 4, but in all 10 electoral districts.
Equally, we were sorely disappointed and dejected when a court order, sought by an elections candidate of APNU-AFC, issued on 17 March 2020, granted an injunction restraining the GECOM from recounting any ballots of the General and Regional Elections of 2 March 2020, and set aside “any agreement between the President of Guyana and the Leader of the Opposition and or any agreement between the Guyana Elections Commission and the Caribbean Community”. This matter continues before the Court as, 28 days later, our nation still awaits a result of the March 2nd general elections.
The consequent departure of the CARICOM high-level team on 18th March 2020 cast a pall of gloom and despair over Guyana whereas the team’s arrival had lit up our hopes and expectations. We took note of your public observation when the team was forced to depart that: “It is clear that there are forces that do not want to see the votes recounted for whatever reason. Any Government which is sworn in without a credible and fully transparent vote count process would lack legitimacy”.
Amid all this, Guyana, like every other country in the world, is confronting the unprecedented challenge of the corona virus which without a credible government in place, the country cannot effectively address.
In all these circumstances, we urge you, Prime Minister as Chair of CARICOM, to remain engaged with the situation in Guyana, and to continue to accompany us in ensuring that President Granger, GECOM and all other parties in Guyana, uphold genuine democracy and fully credible and transparent counting of the votes cast in the elections.
We fear that Guyana is on the brink of a political disaster with very grave consequences including social upheaval. We plead for continued efforts by CARICOM to avert a humanitarian crisis.
We are copying this letter to the CARICOM Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Irwin LaRocque, with the request that he distributes it to all CARICOM Heads of Government.
Capt. Gerry Gouveia, AA
Chairman – Private Sector Commission of Guyana
Georgetown Chamber of Commerce
Bartica Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Berbice Chamber of Commerce
Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce
Guyana Region 3 Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Linden Chamber of Commerce
Rupununi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Air Craft Owners Association of Guyana
Forest Products Association of Guyana
Guyana Rice Exporters and Millers Association Inc.
Guycraft Producers Association
Guyana Association of Bankers
Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association
Guyana Association of Private Security Organisation
Institute of Private Enterprise and Development
National Air Transport association
National Aquaculture Association of Guyana
Shipping Association of Guyana
The Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana
Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association
The Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry Ltd
Muslim Youth Organization of Guyana
Inter Religious Organisation of Guyana
Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana