OTTAWA, Canada – Canada on Wednesday said it would join its partners in the international community in calling on Guyana to ensure the results of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections are released immediately.
“Canada strongly regrets the extended delay in declaring election results in Guyana, a delay that has now lasted more than four months,” the Justin Trudeau government said in a statement.
It follows an announcement by the United States that it would impose ‘visa restrictions on persons undermining democracy” in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country and growing speculation that the United Kingdom may soon announce measures of its own.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said the David Granger government “must respect the result of democratic elections and step aside” and warned that the visa restrictions could also be extended to “immediate family members of such persons,” delaying the release of the results.
In its statement, Canada said that it supports the calls made by the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM”, the Commonwealth, the Caribbean Court of Justice and civil society organizations “to announce the results based on the national recount, as validated by the CARICOM observer mission.
“In the interest of the democratic rights of the people of Guyana, Canada firmly maintains that the rule of law and democratic processes must be respected and a declaration be announced without further delay.
“Canada will continue to work with its partners in the international community, using all tools at our disposal, to demand a swift and transparent conclusion to the election process and hold accountable those who prevent it,” the statement added.
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”
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 elections.
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 in which he gave victory to the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) over the main opposition, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).