The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), on Saturday, joined with election observer missions from CARICOM, the hemisphere and internationally in expressing “grave concern about the processes and procedures employed in the counting of the votes in the recent Guyana elections in Region 4”.
“It is imperative that the election authorities in Guyana count every vote in accordance with the established law, procedure and best practices so as to lend credibility to the results,” the Office of the Prime Minsiter said in a statement.
On Thursday, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) released to the media, results for Region Four, and if, certified would result in the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity plus the Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) defeating the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) by more than 59,000 votes and securing another term in office.
GECOM public relations officer, Yolanda Ward, had forwarded without comment images of Statutory Declaration Form 24. The Form shows the incumbent APNU+AFC securing 136,335 votes while the PPP/C has earned 77,258 a difference of 59,077.
But attorneys representing the PPP/C said they had been able to secure three injunctions from the High Court ordering GECOM to verify the results of Region Four.
The matter is now being heard by the High Court in Guyana.
In its statement, Kingstown said:
“It has been a hallmark of our democratic CARICOM that each vote be counted and that such counting be done transparently and in the presence of all competing political parties and accredited independent observers. Anything short of this will inevitably cast doubt on the results.”
The statement noted that Guyana is a founding member of CARICOM and is also “vital to our Caribbean Civilisation.
“We urge peace and calm and call on all political leaders in Guyana to use their best effort to maintain peace and calm, to avoid violence and any consequential loss of life and property. This is a time for statesmanship.”
Kingstown siad it respects the sovereignty and independence of Guyana, “and expects a resolution to the impasse over the counting of votes in Region 4 to be resolved impartially by the relevant institutions in Guyana.
“Finally, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines affirms its full support for the statement and approach laid out in a statement of today’s date made by the Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados,” the statemnent said.
Meanwhile, sperately also on Saturday, fromer SVG prime minister, Sir James Mithcell called “for common sense” to prevail in Guyana
Sir James, 89, who served as prime minister here from July 1984 to March 2001, said he had been “keenly following the events surrounding the election in Guyana.
“Out of my past experience dealing with electoral problems in that country, and the rigging of elections from time to time, I was requested to make a statement by friends in Guyana,” he said, without specifying who the “friends” were.
However he noted that during his tenure as prime minister he had developed a friendship with the leadership of the two major political parties in Guyana.
“Very simply, what I have to say is that the government should refrain from having the president sworn in before the compilation of the electoral figures is complete. As simple as that,” the retired politician said.
And, in her statement, on Saturday, CARICOM chairman, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley, called for the electoral officials in Guyana and the representative political parties “to work together to achieve a peaceful and lawful completion of the electoral process in Guyana by ensuring the tabulation of the results in all regions using the Statement of Polls in a transparent manner in the presence of the representatives of the political parties and the electoral observers”.
Mottley noted that CARICOM issued a statement, on Thursday night, and another on Friday from the chief of the independent CARICOM Electoral Observation team. B
Both statements called on GECOM to complete the electoral process.
“We are very clear, every vote must be made to count; and transparently so.
We have noted that all sides have been making serious allegations against each other,” Mottley said.
“It is critical that good sense prevail. The preservation of law and order is paramount and all parties must work hard to ensure that there is peace on the roads and in the communities across Guyana.”
The statement noted that one person has died in the most election agitations.
“That is one death too many.
“In simple language, we ask the parties to recognise that the primary consideration must not only be who will be President but, moreso, who will be alive come next week or next month, for there cannot be a tolerance for any further loss of life.”
Mottley said she has spoken to Granger and the Leader of the Opposition and indicated that CARICOM stands ready to be able to be there to facilitate further dialogue and any actions that are necessary.
“We have done this on many occasions in the past, including in Guyana, when elections have been highly contentious and when social order and the rule of law has been threatened across the region.
“We are family and this is what happens when there are disputes in families.
We will work together to create the space for dialogue and resolution once there is an acceptance on the part of all parties that there is a higher interest beyond simply the result in this election,” Mottley said.