Georgetown, Guyana – (February 5, 2020) Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, met with representatives of The Carter Centre, who are here as part of the contingent of international observers for the upcoming General and Regional Elections.
The team was headed by Mr. Carlos Valenzuela, Field Office Director, International Election Observation Mission and included Ms. Anne Marlborough, Legal Analyst and Mr. Nicholas Jahr, Deputy Field Office Director.
Mr. Valenzuela informed Director General Harmon that the team is making its rounds and has met with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), and the Government and will soon be meeting with the political parties once it’s leadership arrives in the country, to understand what are their views on the elections preparations, electoral process and challenges and issues, if any, that they may have with the Commission 0r the process.
Mr. Harmon, who welcomed the team’s presence in Guyana, said that as far as the Government is concerned, elections is part of a democratic process and development of the country is based on the country’s ability to have free, fair and credible elections.
In this regard, he therefore noted that “the Government has done all that is humanly possible over the past year to have the Elections Commission adequately equipped and provided with all the necessary resources, without any interference from Government to ensure that free, fair and credible elections are held.”
The Director General noted that while some persons seek to cast aspersions on the work of the Commission, the Government is confident that it can and will deliver a credible process to the people of Guyana.
“We have depended on GECOM to regulate themselves without giving any directions and we have provided all the resources that they need to carry out their work. We are most confident that the Commission can deliver free, fair and credible elections,” he noted.
DG Harmon further noted that it is the Government’s hope that the elections results can be declared in a timely and efficient manner according to the prescriptions of the law, so that the nation’s business can continue as soon as possible after the elections.
On the question of post elections violence, the Director General said Government is hopeful that this will not take place since there is no place for such violence in the country Guyana is becoming.
“There is too much going for Guyana right now, too much positive developments for us to return to that place. Any post elections violence will take us back decades and we don’t want that. We do not subscribe to it. We have too much to lose as a country if we go back to that abyss,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Valenzuela said the team is not here to find faults in the Commission or to criticise anyone but rather, the aim is to ensure confidence building in the citizenry and to ensure they are confident in the results that would emerge at the end of the process.