Carter Center still hoping to return for national recount

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Co-leaders of the Carter Center Observer Mission in Guyana, Jason Carter, and Former Senegalese Prime Minister, Aminata Touré

The Washington-based Carter Center, has confirmed that it had deployed an Observer to Miami who was prepared to travel to Georgetown, today (Monday), to observe the national recount, but the observer was unsuccessful in joining the flight due to the Guyana government officials not granting the necessary clearance for travel.

The special flight was organised by the United States Embassy in Georgetown to come here to repatriate citizens of that country who wanted to return home.

In a brief statement today, the Carter Center said it continues to reach out to Guyana Government officials to understand what is required to allow its team to return to Guyana to observe the recount process.

“The Center deployed an observer to Miami who was prepared to travel to Georgetown today, but unfortunately his flight was denied approval to carry international election observers”.

However, the Carter Center says its accredited observer mission remains committed to providing an independent assessment of Guyana’s electoral process, including the upcoming recount.

Pressure is mounting from the international community for the government to allow the return of International Observers to oversee the recount process, which is expected to commence on Wednesday, May 6.

It should be noted that the Carter Center is among the group of international observers that have been publicly critical of the lack of credibility of the highly contentious Region Four count that is at the centre of Guyana’s current political turmoil.

In its recount of the March 2 polling day and the events that followed, the Carter Center had stated that “Election day proceeded smoothly.”

However, they had noted that tallying went astray in Region Four when, after only half the results for the region had been tabulated in the presence of observers, the Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo abruptly announced the rest of the results, “which indicated that the ruling party had come from behind to win the election.”

The Center, in addition to other international observer missions, subsequently denounced the declaration of unverified results, saying they lacked credibility, and called for a return to the verification process. Due to concerns about their safety due to harassment by Government supporters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had departed Guyana but remained resolute that they are prepared to return to see the electoral process through to the end.

On Sunday, the United States Embassy issued a statement disclosing that permission was sought from the COVID-19 Task Force, headed by Chairman Moses Nagamootoo and Director Joseph Harmon, and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for a flight to land today, May 4, and for the observers from the Carter Center to be allowed entry into Guyana on that flight.

However, the Task Force in response approved the arrival of the flight and not the observers.