Former UG Vice Chancellor weighs in on electoral fraud, says sanctions will most likely be against individuals

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Former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith

Former University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, has weighed in on the issue of electoral fraud in Guyana, saying that should the United States impose sanctions for rigging of the March 2 polls, it will likely be against individuals deemed to be responsible, as against the entire country.

In comments recently published by Russian news agency Sputnik, Griffith was quoted as saying that: “The US likely will take into account that ExxonMobil and other US firms have made massive investments in the oil sector and likely will have those investments impacted with the imposition of heavy sanctions against the State.”

“Thus, as a first step they are likely to introduce sanctions against individual political operatives, such as suspending and denying visas, freezing their financial assets in the US, and the like,” Griffith said.

It was a view also shared by United States (US) based Guyanese economist, Dr Tarron Khemraj, who was also interviewed by Sputnik. Khemraj was optimistic that the US is likely to take into account Guyana’s poverty and shy away from sanctions that can hurt Guyana’s economy.

“The US, OAS (Organisation of American States) and Commonwealth are likely to impose some sanctions because of the recent rigged elections. US sanctions will most likely be personal and targeted instead of against the entire country.”

“I think the US knows how poor Guyana is and will be reluctant to do widespread sanctions. The individuals responsible for the election problems could face personal sanctions,” Khemraj was quoted by Sputnik as saying.

It has already been over a month of controversies and a credible winner for the 2020 General and Regional Elections is yet to be declared. After two declarations from Region Four’s (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, which lacked transparency, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and caretaker President David Granger had agreed to have the Caribbean Community (Caricom) oversee the recount.

That agreement was derailed when A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) candidate, Ulita Moore, moved to the courts and secured an injunction against the exercise.

That injunction was discharged by the Full Court and later, the Full Court’s decision was upheld by the Appeals Court. GECOM has since re-invited Caricom, although there is no word on whether they will accept the invitation.

In the meantime, criticisms have flowed from the United States (US), the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center about the lack of credibility in the vote count. There have been warnings that sanctions can be imposed if this is not corrected.

The United States has, in fact, been at the forefront of mounting international pressure for the March 2 elections results to be credible and transparent… so much so, that A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) hired a Washington-based lobbyist firm JJ&B LLC to lobby on its behalf to change the narrative on the current political and electoral impasse.