US ambassador: Carter Centre should be observing recount
Georgetown – The United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, Friday pushed for the US-based Carter Centre and the International Republican Institute (IRI) to be allowed into the country to observe the recount of the ballots cast in the disputed March 2 regional and general elections here.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is holding the recount after both the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) claimed victory at the polls for control of the 65-member National Assembly.
Speaking on the 94.1 FM’s “Jumpstart Morning Show”, the US diplomat told listeners that she had again written to President David Granger seeking approval for the representatives of these two organisations to be allowed to enter Guyana to observe the recount that began a week ago.
An earlier request had been turned down by Georgetown, which like many other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, has implemented measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) including a shutdown of its borders.
“I am very interested in getting the Carter Centre and the IRI back here to complete their work as international observers and as technical advisers,” she said, adding “they did not get to compete their work because of course the election is still ongoing”.
“They are still accredited and they would very much like to come back in and we think it is a very good idea to have a more robust international observation effort. It is just terrific that CARICOM (Caribbean Community) scrutineers are here as well as a couple of folks from the OAS”.
But the US diplomat said that these other “observers” amounted to only five and “there are ten counting stations . . . so there are not even enough international observers for each counting station.
But pressed by the host, Gordon Mosely, as to what would the Carter Centre observers be bringing to the table given that there are already observers from domestic, regional and international organisations observing the recounting exercise, she replied “a few more people would certainly be helpful”.
“I think the difference between the international observers and the other groups is that they are well trained on what the electoral procedures are and the Constitution of Guyana etc and they are very clear on the specific things that they are looking for.
“So I think a more robust effort would give the citizens confidence that the recount is transparent . . . and when it comes to conclusion it can be deemed free, fair and credible”. (CMC)