Georgetown, Guyana – (March 12, 2020) President David Granger, this afternoon, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his meetings with the five Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of State, who travelled to Guyana yesterday to mediate between the Government and the Opposition regarding the current electoral stalemate.
“CARICOM plays a very important role. Not only is the headquarters of CARICOM in Guyana, Guyana was of course a founding member of CARICOM. The five Prime Ministers, Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines [and Grenada] came to Guyana and they were honest. They were committed to working with Guyana and the stakeholders in Georgetown and the rest of the country to craft a path forward out of the present situation,” President Granger said.
The President said the five regional heads, Prime Ministers the Right Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, OR; Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley; Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves; Dr. the Honourable Keith Mitchell and the Right Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, “were non-intrusive”.
“They engaged the Government, and the parties in the governing coalition. They engaged the Leader of the Opposition. They engaged the observer missions and other stakeholders,” he said, explaining that meetings with the CARICOM leaders ended at approximately 01:30h today.
“They were fully engaged and they worked very hard and aimed at getting a solution to the present situation. I would say it was successful. I was very happy with the outcome and in general terms, we met with former President Jagdeo and we agreed that on Thursday, the two sides, [the] Government side and the Opposition side of the Elections Commission would meet and work out some way of implementing fully, the ruling of Chief Justice Roxane George,” the Head of State said, noting that that was the high point of the CARICOM engagement.
It was agreed by the two sides – President Granger and Opposition Leader Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo – that the process should remain in the hands of the Elections Commission which should meet and decide how it would implement the Chief Justice’s ruling.
“In that regard I would say that the engagement of the five Prime Ministers was a successful one and a necessary one and ought to have given the Guyanese population a good feeling, not only about the Region but also about the process,” the President said.
President Granger said he encouraged the Commissioners appointed by the Government to seek a meeting.
“I understand that a similar request was made by the nominees of the Opposition side. My understanding is that a meeting did take place and the process that was prescribed by the Chief Justice did commence. I know at some stage or the other it was suspended but I feel that coming out of the CARICOM Heads of Government proposals, the meeting did take place and I think that is the way to go,” the President said.
President Granger is adamant that there is no interference by external agents in the role of the Elections Commission.
“The way forward is to ensure the process remains where it belongs, with the Elections Commission and I was happy that the Leader of the Opposition agreed to that. On my side, I agreed to that and we should await the outcome of that process and do not interfere and intrude in that process. That is important. The Elections Commission is long established. It has rules, procedures and we have to allow the Elections Commission to do what it is appointed to do,” the President noted.
President Granger’s message to citizens is that GECOM must be allowed to function without interference.
“Let the Elections Commission do its work. Let us not resort to violent action, to protests and demonstrations. We have had too much of that. Last week, someone got killed, school buses were stoned, school children injured, police men chased from the streets. This is not the atmosphere for arriving at a solution that satisfies the Guyanese people. It could lead to provocation, retaliation. All Guyanese need to observe the role of the Elections Commission. Let the Elections Commission do its work,” the President said.
The Head of State expressed confidence that if the Elections Commission is allowed to function, the elections process will be concluded.
“I am very confident that if the Commission is allowed to do its work, we would come to an end of this process which started on the 2nd March. It is just going on too long. We need to bring an end to it. The Chief Justice has ruled, the Elections Commission has a role to play, the Constitution is clear and I have given the CARICOM Heads of Government a commitment that I will abide by the Constitution. I’ll abide by the declaration of the Elections Commission and I’ll abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Guyana,” the President said.