Carter Center reapplies for flight permission to come to Guyana

Jason Carter

The Carter Center has reapplied for permission for its electoral observer mission to return to Guyana to observe the national recount.

This was revealed by US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch during a radio programme on Wednesday.

“We have gone and requested it again, so there was no question that we were still interested. We are likely…to send out another diplomatic note. At the same time, the Carter Center sent forward their request again,” the US Diplomat stated.

Ambassador Lynch noted that she has had discussions with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and they have agreed that the Carter Center is still an accredited observer since the election process is incomplete.

Moreover, she noted that the gazetted order for the recount reflects the unfinished nature of the elections.

“So, I think GECOM would appreciate the observers and advisers being able to finish their work,” the Ambassador stated.

The Washington-based Carter Center, which had left Guyana amid a stalemate on the way forward regarding the electoral process, had requested permission to return when news of the commencement of the current recount exercise was announced.

Amid the COVID-19 restrictions in the country, authorities have suspended all incoming flights, except in cases where special approvals are given.

The coalition administration has granted permission for a number of flights to land in Guyana, however, it never approved the Carter Center’s request.

In fact, the Center had confirmed that it had deployed an observer to Miami who was prepared to travel to Georgetown, on May 4, to observe the national recount.

According to Center, however, the official was prevented from joining the flight due to the Guyana Government officials not granting the necessary clearance for travel.

On Monday, a letter surfaced from Foreign Affairs Minister Karen Cummings, written on the President’s behalf and addressed to the US Ambassador, where Cummings cited Guyana’s decision to close its airspace from commercial traffic due to COVID-19, as the reason that the Government cannot allow The Carter Center to return.

On Wednesday, top US Senators urged Guyanese authorities to allow the Carter Center to return, reminding Granger that special authorised flights can be permitted.