Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Plea for acceptance of Guyana recount

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GEORGETOWN – The former secretary general of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), Dr P.I. , Gomes Wednesday urged political leaders to accept the results of the recount of the disputed March 2 regional and general election that is expected to come to an end soon.

“With close to 400 ballot boxes remaining to be counted, I wish to believe that the commitment by leaders of all political parties will ensure acceptance of the results of a reliable and transparent recount process, a legitimate government shall be formed, a Parliament convened and a budget approved to set in motion the governance and healing of our society,” Gomes said in a statement.

He said that the population as a whole, “forbearing and restrained, should not be subjected to becoming a “failed state” that benefits no one and punishes most the poorest”.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is engaged in the recount of the ballots after both the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) both claimed victory in the election that had been observed by regional and international observers.

The recount is being observed by a three-member team from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

In his statement, the Guyana-born Gomes, who stepped down as OACPS secretary general in February, said the progress to date for the completion of the recount of ballots and restraint displayed in the society “is no small achievement by Guyanese of all walks of life”.

“It demonstrates, however much a morsel, an historical desire and longing to realise justice and freedom in the everyday life of all Guyanese. No doubt the ordeal and pain being experienced by many due, in part, to the inordinate and obstruction-ridden denial of timely results of the fundamental and sacred right to a government of our choice as guaranteed by the Constitution continues to be worrisome. “

Gomes said that the wish of the CARICOM chairman and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley for a recount process to be “fair, credible, transparent and conducted without further delay” was stated a month ago.

“Regrettably this is still to be realised. Justice delayed is justice denied,” Gomes wrote. GECOM recently announced that the results are most likely to be known by June 13, after the initial 25 day period set aside for the recount elapsed.

Gomes said that the “commendable calm and restraint” of followers of the political parties has possibly benefitted from appeals by the caretaker President, Leaders of all contesting political parties, workers representatives as well as business and civil society.

“This I see as reflecting an underlying consciousness by the great majority of Guyanese, that a unified nation, accepting the rule of law, free from bullying and instigations of raw emotions or threats, as the basis on which a new quality of life for all ought to be built.”

He said extensive coverage by the printed media, radio interviews and various online sources, serves to indicate a reasonably good practice of freedom of the press, that decades earlier had not been so readily enjoyed.

“In this regard, our progress as a society is to be noted and cherished. With rights come responsibilities and, in my view, the press, with one or other exceptions so far, deserve support for serving our society with the highest regard for truth and building trust and respect among persons, despite difference of views.”

Gomes said that the exercise of the democratic right to free expression of views, rational or blatantly prejudiced and racially inciting must give cause for honest reflection and can find no room to condone or remain silent in the face of lies, deceit, blatant misrepresentation of facts.

Gomes said that in the present circumstances in Guyana, “one would be naïve not to recognise that beneath the restraint, patience and enormous efforts to ensure a credible and transparent recount of ballots from the March elections, there is growing concern that there must be efforts to ensure a valid and honest outcome to the process which President [David] Granger, Mr Bharat Jagdeo and the Secretary-General of CARICOM consented to by an Aide-memoire.

“By their office and conscious of their responsibility to the common good of Guyana, they must avoid a situation that ‘may not end well’, in the words of the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley”.

Gomes said that encouraging as are references to “inclusive governance”, from many quarters of the political directorate, cross sections of the public and articulate commentaries in the media, “it must be frankly admitted that such concerns may remain little more than desires of best endeavours, unless fundamental preconditions of mutual trust and honesty are met”. (CMC)

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