Praises for Caricom on Guyana election

From left: CARICOM ASG, Amb. Colin Granderson, Mr. Sylvester King, Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles and Mr. John Jarvis
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Newsday, Trinidad and Tobago – I conducted an opinion poll on the recount of votes in Guyana’s March 2 general election. Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, Caricom itself (inclusive of Dr Rowley who visited Guyana as a part of a delegation to mediate the impasse) and the high-level team “scrutineering” the recount of the March election have come in for praise by Guyanese to help bring a resolution to the count stalemate in the declaration of a winner.

This is according to opinions obtained from the latest views of an ongoing tracking poll exercise conducted by me for NACTA. Almost every Guyanese said the election was free and fair but that the count was fraudulent.

They commend Caricom chair Mottley for facilitating the recount exercise and are grateful to the three-member Caricom team, lauding its transparency. Guyanese want the delegation to see through the completion of the exercise and the declaration by the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) of the winner.

Separately, they express disappointment that the internationally acclaimed Carter Center is denied entry to witness and pronounce on the recount.

A majority of the respondents believe the opposition PPP has won the election but are anxiously awaiting the official declaration by Gecom.

Based on opinions gathered from the survey that reflects the demographics of the population, 88 per cent believes that observers from the Carter Center should be granted entry into the country, providing they abide by covid19 protocols. Some point to its presence in 2015 that helped with the certification of the coalition victory and muted acceptance of the results by then ruling PPP.

Some 89 per cent believe the March 2 general election was free and fair. However, 61 per cent said the count of a particular returning officer was fraudulent and must be rendered null and void.

Asked which party they think won the election, 57 per cent said PPP. Asked if they support the recount, 93 per cent answered in the affirmative. Asked if the recount has been transparent, 95 per cent gave a thumbs up.

Some 92 per cent is supportive of the Caricom chair (PM Mottley) and the regional body for the mediation effort via a recount to bring about resolution to the disputed count.

Respondents say the parties must accept the numbers in the recount as the final figures of the election, and the loser must gracefully concede defeat.

The nation also applauds the diplomats and governments of the US, Britain, Canada, and European countries for publicly standing on the side of democracy.

Gecom chair Claudette Singh has earned kudos for supporting and overseeing the Caricom proposed recount and putting in abeyance the Region Four count as well as the fraudulent declaration.

Singh’s poll numbers have been climbing ever since she gave an assurance in a sworn affidavit to the court two months ago to ignore the fraudulent count and authorised the recount.

Some 63 per cent now give her a positive rating, up from March, with 29 per cent negative and eight per cent offering no view. Her negatives are attributed to distrust, slothfulness in the recount, and uncertainty over a declaration.

Some 73 per cent of the population believes Gecom should use the tabulation of the recount exercise to make a final declaration of the results of the election.

Voters also praise President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo for agreeing to the recount and their conduct supporting it since it began on May 6 and for utilising the interlocutor service of Mottley and Caricom to bring about a resolution.

DR VISHNU BISRAM

director of NACTA

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