WASHINGTON, Jul 22, CMC – The 15-member regional integration grouping, CARICOM, has denied any interference in the internal affairs of Guyana, as citizens of this member country await the official results of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Lou-Anne Gilchrist in a statement to the hemispheric body’s Permanent Council on Tuesday, said that CARICOM has been abiding by the provisions of its treaty.
In the statement issued on behalf of the CARICOM grouping, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines diplomat said that “CARICOM is doing no more than carrying out the requirements of the CARICOM treaty, by which, in its preamble every CARICOM government accepted all the various agreements including the Charter of Civil Society which the Conference of Heads of Governments adopted on 19th February 1997”.
She said Article 6 of the Charter states every state shall ensure the existence of a far and open democratic system through the holding of free elections “at reasonable intervals by secret ballot underpinned by an electoral system in which all can have confidence and which will ensure the free expression of the will of the people in the choice of their representatives.
“CARICOM’s role therefore is not interference in the domestic affairs of a foreign country. It is participation in Community affairs which is the essence of the Revised CARICOM Treaty under the Charter of Civil Society that preceded it,” she added.
“We in CARICOM underscored that in our concerted effort to assist Guyana (and) our willingness to help resides in our desire to reach peaceful solution and not to widen the current division. We urge the relevant authorities in Guyana and all stakeholders to respect the rule of law and to make progress in finalising the legal processes including taking account of rulings by Guyana’s Apex Court, the Caribbean Court of Justice the decision as delivered on July 8 this year”.”
The diplomat said that CARICOM has accompanied “this entire process in Guyana from elections on March 2 and throughout the national recount of the vote, scrutinised by CARICOM”.
She said in doing so the OAS “has given space and time to all parties in Guyana to settle all of the issues relating to the election, the process that has gone on for four and a half months.
“CARICOM recommends that the OAS Permanent Council remains seized of the situation in Guyana and that it review the situation as may be necessary. In the meantime the CARICOM group at the OAS commends the people of Guyana for their patience and calm and assures them of our continued…support,” Gilchrist added.
In his report to the OAS Permanent Council, former Jamaica prime minister Bruce Golding, who headed the OAS Observer mission to the elections gave what OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro described as “very professional report,’ outlined the various stages taken to ensure the process was free, fair and transparent and all but indicated that the election was won by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) over the ruling coalition, a Partnership for National Unity (APNU). – CMC