Top Canadian Gov’t official calls on Granger to reverse decision blocking Carter Center’s return

FILE: Former Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in conversation with Michael Grant, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Americas in the Canadian Ministry of Global Affairs.

In a social media post on Sunday, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas of Global Affairs Canada, Michael Grant expressed concerns over the decision taken by the David Granger-led caretaker Administration not to allow the return of the Carter Center to observe the ongoing National Recount of the March 2 votes.

The top Canadian Government official has urged that the APNU/AFC Government reverse the decision and give the necessary clearance for the Carter Center to return.

“It’s very concerning that Guyana has denied travel by @CarterCenter to observe the recount. Transparency is needed. President Granger should reverse this decision,” the Canadian Minister tweeted.

This comes days after Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee denounced the decision, questioning the motive behind it.

She said in a tweet Friday night that despite ties since the 1990s, Guyana has refused The Carter Center’s return although they will comply with same COVID-19 requirements as the Caricom team.

“[Guyana Elections Commission] GECOM invited @CarterGuyanaEOM to return. Why doesn’t Govt want them back?” she questioned.

The Carter Center was hoping to return to Guyana for the National Recount to complete its electoral observation duties. However, with Guyana’s borders including its international airports closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center’s efforts to join an empty relief flight in Miami that was heading to Guyana to repatriate US citizens earlier this month was denied.

Both The Carter Center and the US Embassy in Georgetown subsequently made a second request for the observers along with advisors from the International Republican Institute (IRI) to return to Guyana. But this too was denied despite Guyana having permitted six to eight flights to oil giant, ExxonMobil, to bring in workers from across the world.

In a letter on Friday, caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Karen Cummings informed the US Ambassador that “…it may not be possible for The Carter Center and the IRI advisor to participate in the overseeing of the recount of the votes cast on 2nd March 2020 General and Regional Elections which as you are aware has already commenced.”

In fact, this was reiterated by President Granger on Sunday during a brief engagement with the media at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.