Coalition using sovereignty as a fig leaf for democratic malpractice – Global Americas author

APNU/AFC Presidential Candidate David Granger along with other members of the coalition at a campaign event in 2020

Having lost the March 2 polls, the embattled APNU/AFC is now pushing the notion of ‘sovereignty’ as an excuse to stave off growing international intolerance over its failure to concede defeat and allow for a smooth transition of government to the PPP/C.

Since the General and Regional Elections, the David Granger-led coalition has been confrontational with the international community which has been calling for credible elections results to be declared in Guyana.

The coalition has wasted no time in accusing foreign powers of “interfering” in the domestic affairs of Guyana.

Wazim Mowla, a Guyanese American author at Global Americas, in an opinion piece titled “Patience running thin in Guyana”, underlined the fact that while the incumbent APNU/AFC Government would want to resurrect the notion of sovereignty, it cannot do so conveniently.

Mowla, whose article was published on July 22, was at the time referencing the scathing attack launched by the APNU/AFC against CARICOM Leaders, more so on Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

Dr Gonsalves had said that CARICOM will not stand idly by and allow for the national recount results to be set aside, and that it must be the basis on which the elections results are declared.

However, his statement, even though it echoed those of current and former Caribbean leaders, was labelled as “foreign interference” by the APNU/AFC.

According to Mowla, while the coalition demands respect for Guyana’s sovereignty, the country is party to several international, regional, and bilateral agreements, many of which are “built around ideas of democracy and intended to hold Guyanese leaders responsible if democratic principles are not respected.”

However, Mowla noted that, “sovereignty now is a convenient fig leaf for democratic malpractice.”

Guyana’s Ambassador to the US, Dr Riyad Insanally, was summoned to a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State, Michael Kozak in March to discuss the political crisis in Guyana and the APNU/AFC’s refusal to accept defeat.

However, mere days after the Ambassador was summoned, in a typical act of defiance, the Government, through the caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings, issued a statement ‘reminding’ the international community that Guyana is a ‘sovereign state’.

Guyana is a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Organisation of American States and CARICOM, and through its obligations under various international treaties executed with these organisations, Guyana enjoined to practice and embrace democratic processes, including free and fair elections.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge had lashed out against those using Guyana’s sovereignty for political convenience, warning that Guyana needs the international community.

In referring to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Greenidge had noted one cannot, on one hand call on the international community to have Venezuela respect the rule of law internationally but at the same time, say that they have domestic legislation and the international community has no right to ask questions of their actions.

Greenidge had argued that it is in Guyana’s interest that “people” do not do things then argue that the country is a sovereign State, adding that one must be very careful not to invoke issues that suit a specific topic because it may have implications for the country.

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, during his presentation at the OAS Permanent Council meeting on Guyana on Tuesday, said that even if the electoral crisis ended immediately, it will take institutional change and more than a generation to rebuild Guyana’s image within the international community.

Meanwhile, Mowla contended that the actions and defiant utterances by members and supporters of the coalition have tested the patience of Western powers and regional institutions.

The author warned that in order to stave off further actions from foreign powers, the immediate solution is for the David Granger government to concede defeat.