Editorial

CARICOM Must Not Give Up on Guyana!

img: The six OECS, 15 CARICOM and 12 Commonwealth Caribbean member-states will be expected to come out of the current 37th CARICOM Summit, under way in Guyana, with plans to address the expected Brexit Caribbean blowout, which offers both challenges and opportunities for new relationships with Britain and the EU.

THE latest official CARICOM delegation sent to Guyana to recount votes as agreed by President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo left the country disappointed and helpless on Tuesday, after a High Court judge upheld an application for an interim injunction until an application for judicial review is determined.

The action, taken on behalf of a candidate of the president’s ruling APNU+AFC coalition, effectively blocked the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from allowing the CARICOM multinational delegation to undertake the exercise he and the opposition leader agreed to.

Strange as it may sound, this latest action continues the confusion that has followed the March 2, 2020 presidential elections in Guyana that all official international observer teams said was not won by the APNU+AFC as officially declared and claimed, since the final set of votes in the most populous region – the capital Georgetown — were never fully and finally counted.

The observer groups and all opposition parties that contested the election all said there were clear irregularities and departures from the law in the counting process, which the Acting Chief Justice acknowledged in the hearing of an earlier similar action taken in the name of the opposition and ruled that the count should be done according to law and transparently.

That both parties claiming to have won reverted to the courts with each getting the rulings they sought speaks much to the legal system in CARICOM’s biggest nation. But it also adds to the lingering suspense and indecision in declaring the real results of an election more than two weeks after all votes were cast and nine of the ten regions were counted.

CARICOM citizens outside Guyana will continue to be bewildered by the unfolding events there, which seem to get more confusing by the day.

It’s clear that some politicians in Guyana want all the ballots counted in plain daylight while others are not so keen. But the indecision is not only bad for Guyana, but for the entire CARICOM and Commonwealth regions of which it is part, as well as the South American continent, on which shoulder it stands.

But, bad as things may appear, CARICOM cannot afford to give-up on Guyana and its people, who are a fundamental part of this region. Their politics might be different, but, like it or not, the reality is that we are still the same Caribbean people we always were and will always be. We may not understand them, and they may not understand us, but we are them and they are us, in which case we have to care about what happens to them.

Let us therefore continue to pay attention to what’s happening in Guyana and hope and pray that they continue to settle their lingering differences peacefully in the courts, instead of on the streets where all the battles can easily turn into a bad war if they allow things to get out of hand.

So, let’s pray for Guyana the country and all its people to go back to living together peacefully even between their neighbourly quarrels, which are natural between members of the same family, which is part of the same CARICOM family.

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