The Opposition APNU+AFC could not have expected to be involved in the visit of American Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, to Guyana. The APNU+AFC should consider themselves unwelcome when it comes to Mr. Pompeo.
The APNU+AFC disgraced itself in the eyes of the world. What it attempted to do was to turn this country into a pariah state. It forced an unnecessary five-month impasse in the country at the time when the people were dealing with the effects of a pandemic.
The US Secretary of State would not wish to be seen in the company of some of those from the APNU+AFC who were complicit in undermining democracy. US officials do not associate with electoral brigands and that is why there was never going to be any possibility of the APNU+AFC being involved in talks or any ceremony during the visit of the US Secretary of State.
The Coalition’s – whatever is left of it – primary interest in the Pompeo visit is to try to score political capital by accusing the United States of using Guyana to launch an attack on Venezuela. The only interest that the APNU+AFC has in this visit is to try to make the US and the PPP/C look as if there are in some deal against Venezuela.
Pompeo’s visit, however, now appears to being primarily about democracy, security and investment. This is why the US Secretary of State is making these whistle-stop visits to Guyana, Suriname and Colombia. It is about US strategic interests in the Region, including encouraging greater US investment in Guyana.
It may also be the first and last time that we see the US Secretary of State in these parts. Whatever the outcome of the US elections, there is no guarantee that Pompeo will return as Secretary of State from next January. And it is for this reason that the government should ensure that he is garlanded with Guyana’s highest national award, the Order of Excellence.
Make no mistake about it. Were it not for Pompeo, this terrible burden which hung on the shoulders of every Guyanese for five months would not have been lifted. The PNC/R was prepared to defy the rest of the international community but their backers knew that they could not defy the United States. And it was the stance taken by Pompeo which in the final analysis ensured that the election crisis was ended.
When Pompeo called on David Granger to step aside, he knew then that his options were limited. He had to have known then that there was little chance of him returning as President.
Were it not for the United States Guyana would have had a protracted electoral crisis. The rest of the international community would have derecognized the Granger regime but they would never have been able to force it to step aside. Only the powerful United States could do that.
It is therefore to be expected that the APNU+AFC would harbour a great deal of bitterness towards Pompeo. And that may explain all the drama about asking the government to reveal what the US Secretary of State was coming to discuss.
When certain Heads of States came to Guyana during the APNU+AFC rule, no one asked what they were coming about. Those are not things which are usually made public before. There is a certain dynamic to talks and issues arising which may not have been initially contemplated.
No one asked a certain leader of the APNU+AFC about his trips to Suriname. When it comes to diplomacy these issues are usually not disclosed prior. But at the end, questions may be posed and there is a procedure for doing so in parliament. But certainly, asking such questions cannot be a matter of urgent and immediate concern as to force the suspension of the Standing Orders.
If there is any reversal of official policy concerning Venezuela or the United States, it will be obvious from other things, such as Guyana’s voting record in regional organizations. But to demand to be told about the matters to be discussed is unusual and presumptuous.
The Opposition will eventually get the answers to their questions. And they will find that what they were hoping for will not be there. They will find few grounds upon which to attack the US Secretary of State or the Guyana government.
Of greater concern should be the status of those persons within the Coalition whose visas were revoked. They can be sure that the US is not likely ever to restore those visas since that country does not wish to entertain those whom they have classified as undermining democracy.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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