New information out of Washington on Saturday confirmed that the U.S State Department has been looking into what sanctions could be imposed on Guyana if any Government is installed based on voter fraud.
However, there is no movement to impose sanctions at this time, given that the U.S. is observing the ongoing recount of votes cast at the March 02, 2020 elections.
The U.S State Department hopes that there would be no need for sanctions but that will depend on the electoral process being completed democratically, according to Director of Caribbean Affairs of the Western Hemisphere, Katherine Dueholm.
She was at the time responding to queries on a webinar on Wednesday (May 6) from an APNU+AFC aligned Diaspora group called Guyana International Inclusive Alliance (GIIA). The organisation had called for the US to make its policy clear on Guyana’s electoral process.
Dueholm warned that the U.S remains prepared to use any tools necessary if individuals try to thwart the democratic process.
“We are not going to stand idly by were people to try and make that happen but on the presumption that from here on out we are going to have a democratic process, we are not proceeding with those types of actions but they do remain available tools to us,” Dueholm said.
Asked what the United States used to determine that there were voter fraud and electoral irregularities, Dueholm pointed to the Region 4 tabulation process.
“We have focused on the instance about departure from Guyana’s own established voting procedures in Region 4 and the fact that verification was not completed when a final count was produced… and the use of documents that were not approved or not part of the established counting process… this is what we focused on when talking about voting irregularities and we have said any decision that came out would not be legitimate,” the US representative noted.
The Director was keen to point out that the United States was only interested in ensuring that no one seeks to participate or benefit from electoral fraud or form any illegitimate Government on its basis.
She said the U.S stands ready to support the next democratically elected Government and had even organised a high-level team to attend the inauguration of the President.
“We are not talking about anyone who seeks to install a certain party, we are talking about individuals who seek to participate in or benefit from electoral fraud and I think that is something, as Americans, that we can all support.”
She believes it was important for the U.S to signal to all involved in the process in Guyana that the U.S was seriously following the issue and was willing to us the tools available should the situation require it.
“We have certain tools that are available to us that we have used in other countries in situations where Governments were formed on the basis of electoral fraud.”
Dueholm clarified that the tools available to the U.S Government range from Visa restrictions to a number of financial measures.
“We have a very arduous process that we are required to follow before we put in place any of those, they are very long, detailed procedures and we have to supply a great deal of documentations,” she added, noting that any remedies imposed will have to be warranted and established on facts.
She said if the U.S decides on sanctions, although it hopes not to do, it will be based on a solid factual case of fraudulent interference in the elections.
Dueholm also denied that the State Department was being influenced by the Washington-based political lobbying firm, Mercury Public Affairs.