Jul 16, 2020 News
By Shikema Dey
Top officials from the de facto Granger government and their financiers will no longer possess their United States of America (US) visas after State Secretary; Mike Pompeo made good on their threat of sanctions for those complicit in electoral fraud and demanded that de facto President David Granger “step aside” and demit office.
During a live press conference streamed on the US Department of State Facebook page, Pompeo said, “Today I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible and complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana.”
The sanctions will not hit just the executives but their “immediate family members” as well, as Pompeo added that relatives of such persons “may also be subject to such restrictions.”
The sanctions, ranging from terminated visas to frozen assets, are expected to be imposed in phases, starting from the upper echelon of the party.
In a detailed statement, the State Secretary pointed to the fact that Guyana’s leaders and other forces have refused to accept that the National Recount placed the victory of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections in the hands of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
This, he pointed out, is notwithstanding the fact that The Organization of American States (OAS) and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) concluded and have continued to maintain that the recount of votes reflected the will of the Guyanese electorate.Pompeo added, “In my public statements since the election, I have been very clear that the United States stands with the Guyanese people and that there would be consequences for individuals who seek to undermine democracy.”
The State Secretary made it pellucid that the actions taken by the US Government is not about “interference”; something they have been accused of by the incumbent A Partnership For
National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition.Rather, he said “It is to send a clear message of the consequences of subverting democracy and the rule of law, which poses a danger to us and our hemispheric partners.”
“We have long said,” he Pompeo continued, “that we have no preference for a winning party, as long as it is selected through a free and fair electoral process that is credible.”
He noted that he hopes Guyana’s leaders understand the dangers posed to the citizens and the hemisphere as a whole if they continue on a path of “non-democratic trajectory.”
Mere minutes after his pronouncements, the US State Secretary received the full support of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee whose Chairman applauded the action, along with support from the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.In a tweet, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Jim Risch said “I applaud @StateDept’s actions today to hold accountable Guyanese officials who have undermined democracy & delayed results from #Guyana’s March elections.”
Senator Risch added “It’s long past time Guyanese authorities begin a democratic transition of power that reflects the confirmed results.”
The US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee also joined with Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling for a declaration of the elections results using the figures from the national recount.“We stand with our career diplomats and with the international community,” the House Subcommittee said, “which is completely unified in calling for the immediate Declaration of Results based on the recount.”
Chaired by Congressman Albio Sires, the Subcommittee, like Pompeo and the rest of the international community acknowledged the results of the
recount, also noting that the Granger administration refuses to concede and has embarked on an active campaign to “frustrate a declaration of the recount results.”They also noted that the Coalition has opted to advocate for a declaration using fraudulent numbers – this, on several occasions.
“We condemn all efforts to undermine the credibility of the March 2nd election, including recent actions taken by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) to effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters and manipulate the vote count,” they said.
The Subcommittee also submitted its complete support for GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh in her decision to dismiss the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield’s fraudulent reports.
“We commend the people of Guyana for their remarkable patience over the last four months,” the House Subcommittee said, “but they have waited far too long.”Government’s response
The incumbent Coalition Government in response to the US State Secretary’s pronouncements said that they “regret the decision taken.”
“The matter affecting the outcome of Guyana’s elections,” they said “is still before the courts, which is entirely the responsibility of the judiciary. No declaration has been made.”
The Coalition claimed that the “Executive Branch” has not participated in the undermining of the electoral process and urged all countries interested in Guyana’s development to “await the logical conclusion of the process” which is being managed by the Elections Commission, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.
De facto Foreign Affairs Minister, Karen Cummings, however, accused the US Government of being “ill-informed and uninformed.”
“I must say I am appalled and shocked, and to say that it shows that the author of such an idea is ill informed and uninformed. We have not broken any international treaty or laws; we have not even broken our own laws and we have been loyal and in abeyance of the Constitution and Guyana’s laws,” Cummings was quoted in another section of the media.
Minister Cummings went on to accuse the US government of entering deals with countries they should be sanctioning, instead of Guyana.
She said, “Their attention should be turned to those countries where they have had money laundering and the drug lords and they haven’t been going after those and sanctioning those countries yet they are striving to have deals with such countries.”
“We as a government,” the Foreign Minister added “is showing that we have moral backbone and we have integrity that cannot be flattered, bribed or terrified.”
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