Recount of votes “an important step to grant legitimacy” to electoral process – OAS

OAS head Luis Almagro 

Following the decision of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to proceed with recounting the votes cast in the March 2, General and Regional Elections, Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, on Friday, said the organisation fully supports the move and expressed hope that nothing would come in the way of ensuring that the process is credible.

The OAS head said that having a credible recount of the votes is a very important step in granting legitimacy to the electoral process in Guyana.

In a tweet the high level official said: “the OAS General Secretariat supports GECOM’s decision to carry out an integral recount in Guyana. It’s an important step to grant legitimacy to Guyana’s elections and we hope the process encounters no obstacles”

Several observer groups, in addition to a number of political parties who contested the March polls, have lamented that there was a lack of transparency in the declaration of District Four results.

Following the controversy, the OAS had withdrawn it Observer Mission from Guyana with a warning that “the legitimacy of any Government that is installed in these circumstances will be open to question…This would be a terrible blow to the country’s democracy…The people of Guyana do not deserve this.”

It had noted; “the process [being] employed by the Returning Officer (RO) for Region Four is not transparent and, based on the numbers that have emanated since the process was first disrupted, is unlikely to produce a result that is credible and is able to command public confidence.”

Former Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding headed the OAS Observer Mission to Guyana.

The OAS Elections Observer Mission to Guyana was headed by former Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.

A high-level team was put together after CARICOM’s Chairman, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados intervened to oversee the recount of the ballots; but the team had withdrawn from the process following a court injunction to block the process.

The team comprised of former Attorney-General and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Dominica Francine Baron, and comprise former Minister of Finance of Grenada Anthony Boatswain; Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government of UWI Cynthia Barrow-Giles; Chief Electoral Officer of Barbados Angela Taylor; and Chief Elections Officer of Trinidad and Tobago Fern Narcis-Scope.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AFP)

United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo in a statement had also reinforced the importance of free, fair and credible elections in Guyana. He had sent a blunt warning saying: “Individuals who seek to benefit from electoral fraud and form illegitimate Government, [or] regimes will be subject to a variety of serious consequences from the United States.”