Guyana’s neighbour, Suriname, on Thursday, witnessed a peaceful transition of government which saw out-going President Desi Bouterse placing the presidential sash on his successor Chan Santokhi, officially marking the beginning of a new administration.
Once the formalities were over, President Santokhi was able to swear in his government team in a specially decorated tent on Independence Square in the country’s capital, Paramaribo.
According to a report by StarNieuws, the oath was read by the Director of the Interior, after which the ministers were sworn in one by one. Of the 17 ministers, six are women.
Santokhi promised that despite all obstacles faced, the country “will be fine” and his new government will deliver on the promises made to the people.
In a speech after the ministers were sworn in, Santokhi said that this is the second phase since the inauguration of the president and vice president.
He said that now a Cabinet has been presented to the people of Suriname, all ministers have made their oath or promise and they are expected to deliver.
Santokhi underlined that there was an election on May 25, 2020 in which a tough campaign was launched. “The people have spoken. Do not forget that the people have placed you. You are going to work for the people,” said President Santokhi.
Sanokhi promised that the country will be governed in unity. He said that although ministers have been nominated by the political parties, this will not apply to the way in which government will be held. “From this moment on, work will start”.
The General Elections in Suriname were held on May 25, and within days, the results were declared and accepted by all parties. Bouterse had conceded defeat for the sake of allowing his country to move forward, but it is the opposite for his counterpart in Guyana.
Guyana’s President David Granger, has tightened his grip on power even though the results of a national recount have confirmed that his ruling party was massively defeated by the PPP/C with in excess of 15,000 votes.
Granger’s APNU/AFC Coalition was defeated twice – first in a no-confidence vote in the Parliament in December 2018 and then at the March 2 national elections.
After prolonging the elections for more than a year following the no-confidence vote, the elections were finally held on March 2, 2020.
It is now close to five months since the electorate voted but credible results are yet to be declared even though they are widely known and certified by all stakeholders, including the parties themselves and local and international observers.
GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, is blatantly refusing to carry out the directive of Chairperson, Justice (Rtd) Claudette Singh to use the certified recount results as the basis to prepare his report for final declaration, as ordered by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
International Powers are mounting pressure on Granger and his APNU/AFC Coalition to concede defeat and “step aside” so that the duly elected government could take its place.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday, announced that visa sanctions have been imposed on top Government and electoral officials and all others who are involved in undermining Guyana’s democracy.
“The Granger Government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside,” Pompeo asserted.
It is highly likely that Canadian and United Kingdom authorities will take similar measures if the Granger Government persists in hanging on to power illegally.