‘CARICOM must stand for something’, says Mottley on ‘bizarre’ Guyana elections
CARICOM’s vested interest in Guyana’s election stems from the body’s obligation to ‘stand for something’ as it seeks to promote the continued development of Caribbean people, according to Chairperson of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley.
“What is going on (in Guyana) is a little bizarre, to say the least, but we shall wait and see and let the process play out over the next few days,” Mottley said Wednesday night during an interview with Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) CNC3 News hours after making a public statement condemning Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield for invalidating over 115,000 votes to give the incumbent Coalition a victory.
However, Mottley also reminded that the CARICOM Observer team which was described as the “most legitimate interlocutor” on the Guyana situation by President David Granger, was satisfied with the recount process.
Thus, CARICOM had expected that the declaration of an electoral result would soon follow those certified figures which show a PPP/C victory at the March 2 Regional and General Elections.
Those who favoured Lowenfield’s dumping of alleged invalid votes accused Mottley of unnecessary interference in the sovereign affairs of Guyana following her statement.
A press statement from the Coalition Wednesday night accused Mottley of being “ill-advised and ill-informed” but was later withdrawn citing “errors.”
But Mottley Wednesday night set the record straight noting that the Caribbean region has been one which has seen its citizens move from poverty to countries being on their way to achieving the global Sustainable Goals (SDGs). And part and parcel of developing the Caribbean region have been the “Freedom of Choice.”
“If people don’t have the choice as to where to work and how to move and how to do and what to do, then they are constrained,” Mottley said.
“So then the continued developmental goals are critical and the Caribbean Community must stand for something with the respect to the pursuit of these goals and with respect to the values that have made us stand up as a beacon in the global community.”
CHARTER OF CIVIL SOCIETY
Claims that CARICOM should not be concerned with the sovereign affairs of Guyana beyond its role as an observer were further rubbished as the Chairperson reminded of a document that CARICOM member States agreed upon.
“There is a Charter of Civil Society within the Caribbean Community that causes us to have to aspire to a very high level of behaviour with respect to free and fair elections and with respect to giving full effect to the will of the people,” she said.
This Charter was adopted at a conference of the Heads of Government of CARICOM at a special meeting in Port of Spain in October 1992 following the recommendation of the West Indian Commission.
And detailed in the preamble of this charter, inter alia, is the determination of the member states to enhance public confidence in governance; ensure continuing respect for internationally recognized civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights; and to uphold the right of people to make political choices.