Return of Carter Center outside of our remit – GECOM

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The return of US based democracy watchdog, the Carter Center is outside the remit of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and is solely within the Executive and that of the President.

This position was communicated on Wednesday by the GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward and opposition Peoples Progressive Party Civic Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, during separate media engagements.

Addressing members of the press corps in the makeshift media centre erected outside of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Gunraj noted that there have been continuous questions being posed to GECOM on the organisation’s return.

“I want to say this very clearly, GECOM, the Guyana Elections Commission, the Chairman and Commissioners have done in our opinion all that is necessary…We have stated and restated and overstated, perhaps, that the persons accredited remain accredited.”

He was adamant “the electoral process is an ongoing one, they were accredited for the electoral process…the electoral process has not concluded and as a consequence, their accreditation has not expired; They are welcomed.”

The PPP/C Commissioner used the occasion to reiterate that the Commission has written to all of the organisations that dispatched Election Observer Missions for Guyana’s May 2 General and Regional Election indicating that their accreditation remains intact.

“That, I believe, is the extent of the power of GECOM and while I know that the Carter Center and the other electoral observer missions are subtending or their work is related to our work, there is only so much that GECOM can do,” he noted. Any further questions on this issue, he said, are better directed to the Executive.

Meanwhile, GECOM’s PRO—Ward—also went on record to say, “I want to emphatically state that this is outside of the remit of the Commission.”

According to the Commission’s PRO, such issues are to be dealt with by the President.

She told reporters, “when it comes to international observers, there has been an established protocol, a legal protocol. And so, the protocol as always is that international observers go through the Executive and once that approval and accreditation has been granted, it is then forwarded to GECOM.”

She emphasised that “it is not for GECOM to do advocacy on that part because it steps outside the parameters of the Commission.”

The Carter Center—through the U.S Embassy—has had several requests to return to Guyana to continue with its mission as the recount exercise progresses, denied by ‘caretaker’ President David Granger.