Panel for Elections COI could be drawn from CARICOM, OAS, CW – President

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President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Irfaan Ali has once again affirmed that an international Commission of Inquiry will be held into the events that occurred post March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and hinted that the panel could be drawn from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organisation of American States (OAS), and The Commonwealth.

“We must have an international COI into what took place during those elections and after those elections, because people have to be held accountable…you have to be held accountable for your actions, and your actions caused tremendous harm to the people of Guyana and to our country,” President Ali said during a recent interview with Jamaica’s CEEN TV – ‘The Conversation.’

When asked about the composition of the investigative panel, the Head of State said that while he has tremendous respect for the national human asset, the region has always been Guyana’s “first call.”

“Definitely I think the region would have to play a part, but we have also gotten requests from many of the international organisations – OAS, Commonwealth and so on…these are all organisations that played a key role (in fighting for Guyana’s democracy)”.

“So between the OAS, Commonwealth and CARICOM, I think we will have a great opportunity to determine a good panel to look at the COI,” President Ali explained.

Meanwhile, the President also pointed to the need for electoral and constitutional reforms to avoid “brinkmanship” and a recurrence of the high level of political crisis that gripped the country from March to August this year.

However, noted that such a process would have to be driven through consultation with citizens getting an opportunity to have a say in the changes they would like to see implemented.

He pointed out though that while the composition of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is one issue that would have to be addressed, what occurred post March 2 polls goes beyond the Commission as the electoral machinery itself was compromised.

In terms of a timeline for such a Commission to begin working, President Ali noted that the Government is still “settling in” and was engaged in seeing an emergency budget passed so as to get the economy back on track.

However, matters such as the COI, he noted, is being worked on simultaneously.

President Ali, during his inauguration last month, announced the establishment of a COI in the events surrounding the March 2 elections and the events that followed.

“All of us are painfully aware of the trauma and anguish that our people endured over the past five months as vigorous attempts were made to destroy our democratic credentials, and deny the will of the electorate… Therefore, a review of events – related to the electoral process over the last five months – will begin shortly in order to determine, forensically, exactly what transpired, and to hold accountable any persons who sought to pervert and corrupt the system,” the Head of State had announced announced.