Gov’t again denies permission for Carter Center to return


The Government of Guyana on Friday denied permission for the Carter Center observers to return to Guyana to observe the recount of votes cast on March 2, 2020.

This is the second time the Government has denied entry to the observers who made an official request through the United States Embassy here; President David Granger had rejected the initial request.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Karen Cummings responded to a May 14 Diplomatic Note sent by U.S Ambassador to Guyana Sara Ann Lynch asking that the Government reconsider its position.

In the Foreign Minister’s response, which was released to the media by the Department of Public Information on Friday, the U.S Ambassador was asked to respect the Government’s decision not to allow the Carter Center observers to return.

Jason Carter, Co-Leader of the Carter Center observer mission

The U.S Embassy had also requested for an Advisor from the International Republican Institute to return with the Carter Center observers.

See a section of the Foreign Minister’s response to the U.S Ambassador below:

I iterate that:

  • The Caribbean Community remains “…the most legitimate interlocutors in the Guyana situation” and that Guyana, equally, is confident in the legitimacy, credibility, and competence of the CARICOM team to perform its task
  • Owing to the Public Health situation which arose as a consequence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the series of Emergency Measures that were promulgated since 16th March 2020, including the closure of its international airports; it may not be possible for the Carter Centre and the IRI Advisor to participate in the overseeing of the recount of votes cast on 2nd March 2020 General and Regional Elections which as you are aware has already commenced.
  • The Government of Guyana requests that the legitimate decisions it has taken with respect to the role of the Caribbean Community in the recount of the ballots cast in the General and Regional Elections and the Emergency Measures it has implemented to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic be respected.

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.

The Cheif Executive Officer of the National COVID-19 Task Force Joseph Harmon had noted that the Carter Center can re-apply to enter Guyana but must adhere to the COVID-19 stipulations; the Center had said it is ready to abide by these stipulations which include being tested in their home country and equipped with a certificate that is valid for seven days.

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