Ramjattan says decision on Carter Center was ‘above’ him

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APNU+AFC’s Prime Ministerial Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan on Friday shied away from providing reasons as to why the Government denied approval for the Carter Center observer mission to return to participate in the ongoing national recount process but noted that the national COVID-19 Task Force did not receive any such request.

He emphasised that a request was made directly to President David Granger.

“As far as I am aware, there was a request – not to the Task Force, but to the President.”

Ramjattan said he “cannot really say” what were the reasons that the Carter Center failed to secure the Government’s approval.

In fact, the PM Candidate said the issue was above him.

“I understand that there was a ruling in relation to flights, then there was an IRI issue…that is above me right now, some other ministries dealing with it,” Ramjattan told reporters outside the Arthur Chung Convention Center.

The U.S. Embassy in Georgetown had clarified that it sought permission via official channels, for observers of the Carter Center to board a flight to Guyana.

The Embassy said in a statement that the request was denied by the National COVID-19 Task Force headed by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.

Ramjattan said, however, that according to his understanding of the matter, a request was made directly to the President.

“I do not want to get much into that at this stage,” he said in shutting down the issue.

The Carter Center observers sought permission to land in Guyana on Monday last to observe the national recount of votes which commenced on Wednesday, May 6 at the Arthur Chung Conference Center.

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.

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.

The Carter Center first played a key role in the historic 1992 elections in Guyana and has observed every election since then.

There have been calls from several organisations, individuals and the U.S Government for the Carter Center to be allowed to come to Guyana to observe the recount in the same manner that the Caricom team was allowed entry.

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