By Kemol King
APNU+AFC campaign manager, Joseph Harmon has said that he is surprised at statements being made by “former Prime Minister” about the possibility of Guyana being expelled from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as Guyana is the seat of the CARICOM Secretariat. Harmon’s comments, made on Sunday during an interview on the Linden radio station 104.3 Power FM, and broadcast to several stations across the region, are seen as a response to the Head of the Commonwealth Electoral Observer Mission and former Barbados Prime Minister, Owen Arthur.
Arthur had told Kaieteur Radio on June 12 that Guyana could become a pariah state if it does not follow the necessary procedures to ensure the conclusion of the electoral process in a democratic manner. At the time of that interview, the recount had already concluded, showing the PPP/C to be the clear victor. However, the APNU+AFC camp had already labeled the elections not credible and the recount results unacceptable. Arthur had said that the avenue for an aggrieved party to go would be an elections petition in Court.
“If you go ahead and seek not to follow those processes,” Arthur had explained, “Guyana could be suspended from CARICOM; Guyana, if it came to that could also be expelled from CARICOM. Those would be tremendous decisions that would not be entered lightly.”
“We are the seat of the CARICOM Secretariat,” Harmon countered on Sunday, “and I think sometimes people forget that when they make statements about Guyana can be expelled from CARICOM. Some of these statements, I really am surprised that former Prime Ministers and people like that can make statements like that. We are the original, original signatories to the treaty that established CARICOM.”
Arthur had also pointed to consequences for Guyana’s Commonwealth membership, building on a statement made by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, that any Government sworn in without a credible and fully transparent vote count and tabulation process would lack legitimacy.
“There are consequences,” Arthur had said “by being a member of the Commonwealth; it is not just a political act, you are a beneficiary of technical and other assistance. The Guyanese elections were conducted with technical assistance from the Commonwealth. And you could become a pariah state and you could be suspended.”
Currently, the country faces a fourth attempt to hand a victory to the coalition, which does not reflect the will of the voting public, as expressed on March 2 and certified at the recount, whereby Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield is seeking to dump 115,844 valid General Election votes on claims that those votes are not credible. The CCJ hearing scheduled for tomorrow is expected to provide a pathway forward towards resolution.
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