‘Revoke visas of those not allowing Carter Center in’ – Fmr. AG
Former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall has made a public call for the foreign missions in Guyana to revoke the visas of those who denied entry to observers of the Carter Center who want to return to Guyana to observe the recount of all votes cast on March 2, 2020.
“US Embassy, Canadian & High British High Commissions & the EU must revoke the visas NOW of all persons responsible for denying Carter Center permission to observe the recount, including, members of the COVID-19 Task Force and blacklist them from traveling to their respective countries!” Nandlall, an executive member of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party, posted on his Facebook page on Sunday night.
In a subsequent telephone interview with the News Room, Nandlall said the PPP “will certainly explore” officially writing the foreign missions on Monday to make its position known.
He called on other political parties to do the same along with civil society organisations in Guyana such as the labour movement, the private sector and the religious community.
“This is not a PPP issue; this is about the rule of law, democracy, this is Guyana’s future that is at stake,” Nandlall said.
Nandlall told the News Room that his call for the visa revocation is premised on the fact that the international community has already promised to impose sanctions if the results from the March elections are not credible.
“We are seeing clearer than ever that there is a larger conspiracy to rig the elections – at the GECOM Secretariat and [GECOM] Commissioners and now the conspiracy is including the [COVID-19] Task Force.
“They are using the Task Force as the basis to refuse permission for the Carter Center Observers to be here…the U.S Embassy even went as high as President [David] Granger and he did not see it fit to intervene,” Nandlall said.
The former Attorney General explained that Guyana will be in violation of international practice not to allow the observers to oversee the process.
“It’s an international understanding among and between countries that you allow observers to observe election. It has become a customary practice.”
“Here you have the Governing party, who claims victory, refusing to reveal their Statements of Poll, objecting to live streaming, objecting to cell phones and using State apparatus to deny the observer team…this is political dictatorship we’re entering into…” Nandlall said.
The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown on Sunday clarified that it had sought approval, via official channels, for observers of the Carter Center to board a flight to Guyana on Monday.
The Embassy said it sent the Diplomatic Note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 29 seeking permission for flights on May 4, 2020, and May 30, 2020.
These flights serve a dual purpose, with the inbound flight on May 4 carrying accredited international observer missions to Guyana for the recount process and the outbound flights serving to repatriate U.S. Nationals, Legal Permanent Residents and Third Country Nationals.
The Embassy noted that the inbound flight request was made on behalf of the Carter Center and the International Republican Institute.
The Embassy also sent a copy of the diplomatic note to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority accompanied by a request to advance the issue to Guyana’s COVID-19 Task Force.
The U.S. Embassy was informed on Saturday, May 2 that the incoming May 4 flight had been approved by the Task Force, but not the arrival of the observers.
The Embassy has since sought reconsideration of “this matter at the highest levels in recognition that the observer missions illustrate the commitment of the caretaker government and the international community to a free, fair and transparent recount process.”
The United Nations representative in Guyana and the Canadian High Commissioner have since expressed hope that the Carter Center would be granted approval to come to Guyana.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the official Government agency that responds to such requests.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs sits on the National COVID-19 Task Force, which is responsible for granting approval for special flights to enter or leave Guyana as ports are closed as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.