– Transparency Guyana on exclusion of Carter Center
The Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) is of the view that Government only requires foreign intervention into Guyana’s affairs when the need suits them. This was in response to the government’s exclusion of the Carter Center Observer Mission from the ongoing National Recount.
In a letter, TIGI stated that the question as to whether the Carter Center should have been allowed to witness the recount process relates to a bigger problem of “constitutional breaches”.
“We refer you to a report in KN of March 13, 2019 whose title says it all: ‘Our politicians only want to obey the law and the Constitution when it suits them’.”
The same, according to the Transparency Institute, applies to the Carter Center situation.
“They only want the Carter Centre to visit and in general, want the attention of foreigners in our affairs when it suits them,” the released noted.
The Carter Center’s exclusion from the National Recount of ballots cast at the March 2, 2020 polls received widespread attention after several requests made for permission to enter Guyana was denied on three consecutive occasions.
On the third occasion, it was confirmed that the President himself denied the request by the observer mission for permission, citing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic precuations.
Before that, the Carter Center had applied for permission from the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF). The first occasion in late April, was not responded to prompting a second appeal from the US Ambassador, Sarah Ann Lynch on May 6. This application was also denied.
The Foreign Affairs Minister in responding to the US Ambassador’s application cited the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 lockdown as one of the underlying reasons why it was denied. She also stated that there is the three-member high-level scrutinizing team which was nominated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) currently monitoring the elections, hinting that no other observer mission would be needed.
A host of stakeholders had advocated for the Carter Center’s return including the agents of several foreign governments and international organizations including: Assistant Secretary for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak; Organisation for American States (OAS) Secretary for Strengthening Democracy, Francisco Guerrero; United Nations Representative in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka; European Union Ambassador, Fernando Ponz Canto; and Guyana’s Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee along with the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), smaller political parties and local observer missions in Guyana.
Advocacy also emerged from a group of bipartisan US Congressional representatives released a public statement lobbying for their return.
In a joint statement, Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Jennifer González-Colón (R-PR) had said that while they appreciate the recount and the role of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the process, they still want the Carter Center and International Republican Institute (IRI) back in Guyana.
It was this request that was denied by the President himself.
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