The United States Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, has held talks with the new President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, promising that Washington would work with the Caribbean country “to advance shared values, economic prosperity and security in the region”.
US Department of State spokesman Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo spoke on Monday with Ali, who was sworn into office in August following the disputed March 2 regional and general elections that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said had been won by the main opposition People’s Progressive party/Civic (PPP/C).
“Secretary Pompeo congratulated President Ali on his electoral victory, which reflected a free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process that respects the rule of law and the will of the Guyanese people,” Ortagus said, adding that the “Secretary added that the United States looks forward to working with Guyana to advance shared values, economic prosperity and security in the region”.
In July, two high-ranking US Democratic Congressional Representatives strongly condemned what they said was the Trump administration’s interference in Guyana’s elections, saying that it infringed on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-state’s sovereignty.
Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke and African American Congressman Hakeem Jeffries – both members of the New York Congressional Delegation – said they were perturbed by the imposition of visa restrictions by the Trump administration on “Guyanese individuals undermining democracy” in light of the disputed elections.
“What I have consistently said is that Guyana, as a sovereign nation, has a responsibility to conduct free and fair elections, and that every asset under its Constitution must be adhered to in order for the democratic process to reach its logical conclusion,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in a television programme here..
Prior to the GECOM announcement of the results, Pompeo had announced that the Trump administration was imposing “visa restrictions on individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana.
“Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions,” he said in a statement.
On Monday, Guyana’s former ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) filed election petitions challenging the results.
The coalition, through its lawyer, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, filed the documents on behalf of the applicants Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick, who wants the High Court to determine the legality of the elections and the results that led to the declaration and the allocation of seats in the National Assembly.
GECOM had declared the PPP/C victorious in the polls based on the national recount of the ballots counted that was supervised by a three-member observer team from CARICOM.
The coalition, which has named several respondents, including Chief Elections Office, Keith Lowenfield, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo as well as representatives of several political parties that contested the elections, wants the High Court to cancel the polls and order fresh elections within 90 days
The applicants have also named former President David Granger as a respondent to the petitions in which they are also asking for a quick and expedited hearing.