CARICOM has a rotating chairmanship in which the Heads of State of each country has the opportunity to head the Regional Body for a six months period. For the last six months, that honour fell to Barbados whose Prime Minister is Ms. Mia Mottley.
In my view, this was one of the most, if not the most significant term, since the formation our Regional Body. Even though it is still early, this last six-month period was historic. Mia Mottley gave CARICOM a prestige and a standing that it never had before. She first of all made herself available to the people of Guyana to help our country to stay on the democratic path. No other CARICOM Chair had ever taken such a bold stand.
She engaged Mr. Granger and, on his request, she came to Guyana. She was accompanied by four other Prime Ministers in the Region. At that time, she got agreement from both Mr. Granger and Mr. Jagdeo to have a recount of the votes cast at the March 2, 2020 elections. She agreed to send a team from CARICOM to observe that recount. In doing so, she played an important role in halting the rigging.
She quickly did so and mobilised a high-quality team of professionals to observe the recount. At first, Granger tried to frustrate the team by going to Court and delaying the process. His hope was that Mia would have been frustrated and abandoned the whole project. That, however, was not to be.
That team went away but another of the same high calibre returned when GECOM was forced to begin the recount. Mia displayed patience and staying power to the chagrin of APNU+AFC riggers. The report of the team was detailed, brutally frank and completely honest. The APNU+AFC had lost the elections.
Based on the report, Mia took a stand, unambiguous and clear. She took CARICOM to another level and added great respectability to our region. Moreover, she gave the region’s peoples hope that CARICOM was no longer prepared to stand aside and look when the human rights are, or when democracy in anyone of its member states is, threatened.
She drew the attention of the region to the danger that this poses. CARICOM standing internationally would be seriously diminished if democracy is ever allowed to be subverted. She took a principled position, she provided powerful leadership.
For that the PNC led APNU/AFC opened a vicious attack on this distinguished leader in our region. It was shameful to observe how low they could descend. They heaped abuse on her but she gracefully and calmly shrugged it off.
Mia, of course, knows that the PNC/APNU/AFC team does not speak for the majority of Guyanese. In this regard, I am not speaking just about the opposition to the regime, but also for many democratically minded people that would have voted for the PNC who were also appalled at the vile attacks on this woman who has displayed such courage to take a stand for what is right and just in the interest of the welfare of the people of one of its members and in the interest of the region as a whole.
Mia Mottley has lifted the bar. The region is a far better place for the leadership she provided. It has given the region a new reputation of being intolerant to dictatorship. Other leaders of the region who will follow and take up the job of Chair of the Region have a higher platform to stand on. Mia has left a solid foundation to take the region to ever greater heights.
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