The United States is on an irreversible course of sanctioning those Guyanese who have been involved in undermining Guyana’s democracy should mischief continue.
There will be sanctions if the APNU+AFC continues with its attempts to steal the elections.
Last week, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said: “ It has now been four months since Guyana’s elections…it is long past due for a peaceful transition of power. CARICOM and the OAS have certified the recount results. They should get on with it. I have instructed my Department to ensure that those who undermine Guyana’s democracy are held accountable.”
It is the firmest signal so far from the Americans that it will not condone the rigging of Guyana’s 2020 elections. More importantly, the United States has moved from saying that there would be implications for those who benefit from rigged elections to now saying that it will hold accountable those who undermine Guyana’s democracy.
This means that the sanctions’ net, if and when cast, will be wider. It will go beyond imposing restrictions on the political elites of the APNU+AFC. The widening of the net to include those who undermine democracy effectively covers three main categories: those who engaged in electoral fraud; those who benefit from electoral fraud and those who support electoral fraud or an illegitimate government.
Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom are likely to impose their own sanctions, using the same benchmarks as the Americans. They have done this in other countries even though they have acted independent of the Americans on other occasions.
Should an illegitimate government assume office- sanctions will be imposed on those who engineered the manipulation of the elections’ results.
This would include persons within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) who were complicit in rigging the results of the elections or frustrating the process. They, along with their families – wives and children – are likely to be subject to visa restrictions and the freezing of all financial transaction with western countries.
One year ago, the United States imposed personal sanctions against electoral officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These officials were accused of obstructing and delaying the holding of credible elections.
The United States government did the same in February of this year against Iranian officials. These officials were complicit in blocking the participation of thousands of candidates for elections.
The European Union had imposed sanctions last October on 85 individuals in Zimbabwe. This includes government officials for transgressions which include electoral offences. Zimbabwean officials have been subject to international sanctions for more than 15 years and it is beginning to hurt many of them and their families.
Canada is part of a number of countries, which have imposed economic sanctions against Venezuela and its government officials for human rights violations and for alleged problems with elections.
Canada has gone as far as spearheading a regional grouping, which included Guyana and is called the Lima Group, in order to isolate Venezuela within the Region and to bring pressure to bear on Maduro. Earlier this year, Canada imposed sanctions on six electoral officials in the Crimea.
The United Kingdom has also imposed financial sanctions on individuals. It has done so over the illegitimate elections in Donbass in Ukraine. These sanctions have been in place for more than five years.
The second category of persons likely to be sanctioned along with their families relates to the political elites who benefit from electoral rigging. This would most likely extend to all the government ministers of any illegitimate regime as well as new appointees accepting positions within the new government.
Three weeks ago, the United States imposed sanctions on 39 individuals in Syria, including the President and his wife. It has also placed sanctions on anyone doing business with that country.
The final category of persons likely to be sanctioned is those who offer support to electoral rigging or an illegitimate government. So long as someone’s actions contribute towards undermining of democracy, it is likely those persons and their families will be subject to sanctions. This group can include persons who are word or action, are seen to be supporting the rigging of elections or perverting the democratic will of the people.
The Granger administration will not be recognized by the A,B,C and EU countries. It will not be recognized by the Commonwealth and CARICOM has made it clear that it will not condone rigged elections. Sanctions when it comes will affect all those who aided and abetted, directly and indirectly, the undermining of elections.
Guyanese must therefore not be deceived into believing that if sanctions come it will only affect the political elites. It will affect many others.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Aug 09, 2020By Zaheer Mohamed It is the dream of every young cricketers to play at the highest level and while it is understood that not all of them will reach the pinnacle of the sport, one would expect that...
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