Government Responds Saying it “Regrets” Position of Washington, But ‘We Will not Bend’
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jul 15, CMC – The Guyana government Wednesday said it regrets the decision taken by the United States to implement visa restrictions on persons “undermining democracy” in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country where the official results of the March 2 regional and general elections are still being awaited.
“Today I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to such restrictions,” US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said during a live press conference streaming on the U.S Department of State Facebook page.
“The (David) Granger Government must respect the result of democratic elections and step aside,” Pompeo said.
But in a brief statement, the Granger government said that “the matter affecting the outcome of Guyana’s elections is still before courts, which is entirely the responsibility of the judiciary. No declaration has been made.
“The Executive Branch has not participated in the undermining of the electoral process and urges all countries interested in Guyana’s development to await the logical conclusion of the process which is being managed by the Elections Commission, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana,” it said, adding that it has “not interfered in the functioning of the Elections Commission.”
The government said it “regrets” the position of Washington.
Campaign co-manager of the APNU+AFC Coalition Joseph Harmon on Thursday said the government of President David Granger will continue to stand firm in the face of all attempts by forces to violate Guyana’s rule of law
“We will not bend,” Harmon said during a press conference on Thursday morning, during which addressed the ongoing attempts to prevent Granger from being declared the winner of the March 2 elections.He added that this was despite the polls showing so.
Earlier, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire said she will begin hearing arguments on Friday in the case filed by a private citizen seeking to prevent the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from receiving a report from the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, regarding the results of the disputed March 2 regional and general election.
Justice George-Wiltshire, describing the case as one “of national interest and importance” and intends to give a ruling, hopefully by Sunday, noting “it all depends on what is presented”.
Misenga Jones, a private citizen, through her attorneys, led by Trinidad-based Senior Counsel, John Jeremie, wants the Court to prevent GECOM from using the recounted, valid and certified results to declare the results of the election and instead compel the seven-member body to use the 10 district declarations.
She has named GECOM, its Chairman retired justice Claudette Singh and the Attorney General, Basil Williams.
Last Friday, GECOM’s chairman, retired justice Claudette Singh had informed Lowenfield by letter that he should revisit her previous communication of July 9 to prepare his report that would start the process of releasing the official results of the elections
Lowenfield had earlier written to Singh indicating that he needed guidance as to whether the report should be premised on Section 18 of the Election Laws or on Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
The GECOM chair has since rejected Lowenfield’s latest report.
US Will Not Provide Names of Persons Slapped with Visa Restrictions – US Ambassador Says
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jul. 16, CMC – United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch says that in the wake of the current political situation in the county, she will not be providing the names of the persons who will have their visas revoked by the US government.
Speaking during a virtual press briefing, on Thursday, the Ambassador said records are confidential under US law – so we are not able to identify the individuals or provide details on any individual visa case.”
She also refused to provide the total number of those who are facing the visa restrictions but reiterated that their family members may also face similar visa restrictions.
“The events following the March 2 elections, some of which I witnessed, indicate that there are forces that have repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box,” the Ambassador said.
The announcement of the visa restrictions was made on Wednesday by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who said the restrictions were targeting persons the US believes are undermining democracy in Guyana, as the country still waits for a final declaration of the results from the elections.
Lynch said the actions by the US Secretary of State sends a clear message about the consequences attached to “subverting democracy and the rule of law which pose a danger to us and our hemispheric partners”.
Questioned about whether the US intends to take any further actions against Guyanese officials, the US Ambassador said she would not be able to comment on that.
Lynch admitted that the Government of Guyana was not formally informed of the visa restrictions, indicating that a public statement was made by the US Secretary of State and that statement was widely reported.
Lynch said it is the Secretary of State who has the power to lift the visa restrictions at any time.
She added that the United States has been expressing its concerns over the situation in Guyana for several weeks and remains a friend of Guyana even as it continues to call for a final declaration based on the vote recount. – CMC