‘Forces’ against recount in Guyana
GEORGETOWN – Chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Grouping, Prime Minister Mia Mottley says it is “clear that there are forces” in Guyana “that do not want to see the votes recounted for whatever reason” as CARICOM announced the withdrawal of its independent team from the country.
A High Court judge Tuesday granted an injunction against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) preventing it from carrying out a national recount of votes from the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.
Justice Franklyn Holder said that the injunction remains in effect pending a hearing on Friday.
The injunction was granted to the private citizen, Ulita Moore and restrains GECOM from setting aside or varying the declarations already made by the 10 electoral districts with any other documents or declarations until the hearing and determination of the judicial review of the application.
The respondents to the Court matter are the Guyana Elections Commission, the Chairman of the Commission and the Chief Elections Officer.
In a statement, Mottley, who is also the Barbados Prime Minister, said that CARICOM “deeply regrets that it has been forced to withdraw” the team it sent into Georgetown on Saturday to supervise the re-counting of the ballots in Region 4 of the elections.
She said that the fielding of the CARICOM team had been at the request of President David Granger and opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
“Given that the tabulation process had been widely viewed as not being transparent or credible, President Granger and Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, Leader of the Opposition, agreed that the only possible resolution was by way of a recount supervised by an independent team. This was seen as a significant contribution to bolstering the transparency and legitimacy of the electoral process.”
She said this step forward had been anchored by an Aide Memoire signed by both leaders Monday and the Terms of Reference prepared by GECOM to govern the role of the CARICOM team that was led by former Dominica attorney general and foreign affairs minister, Francine Baron.
But Mottley said that the court order issued on Tuesday granted an injunction restraining GECOM from recounting any ballots of the elections and set aside “any agreement” between Granger and Jagdeo and or any agreement between the GECOM and CARICOM.
“The Caribbean Community has no other choice but to withdraw the High Level Team. It is clear that there are forces that do not want to see the votes recounted for whatever reason. Any government which is sworn in without a credible and fully transparent vote count process would lack legitimacy,” Mottley warned.
“As I said in an earlier statement it is critical that good sense prevail. The preservation of law and order is paramount and all parties must work hard to ensure that there is peace on the roads and in the communities across Guyana. The Community remains committed to the people of Guyana,” she added. (CMC)