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Jul 7, 2020

CARICOM is Watching Guyana’s Political Impasse Closely

While we spoke to the Foreign Minister on Monday, we also asked him about the situation in Guyana. Guyana is entering its fifth month of political deadlock since the results of a March second presidential election were brought into question following allegations of vote-rigging and fraud.  The standoff was only intensified when a protracted recount of the ballots determined that the opposition had won by a narrow margin.  President David Granger’s position on the initial outcome was only strengthened when a report from an observer suggested that one hundred and fifteen thousand of the four hundred thousand votes cast should be invalidated based on the finding that deceased persons were registered as having voted.  Granger’s political opponents contend that the allegations are unfounded and that their candidate Irfaan Ali should be permitted to take the oath of office.  It’s a situation that is closely being monitored by CARICOM and Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington shares his observations.

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“They had elections about a month or two ago and they have not been able to agree on the outcome.  All indications suggest that the opposition may have won the election, but the body responsible for making that pronouncement apparently still has not been able to do that.  They have had difficulty with counting and challenges and the like.  It’s a very, very volatile situation because Guyana has been known historically for this great divide between the blacks and the Indians and it’s a racial issue that has always been part of their politics and it’s compounded by two things; one: Guyana has found more oil now than it knows what to do with it and of course we have the COVID-19 pandemic and because they have such a big border with Brazil and Suriname and other things, that could create tremendous problems for them.  So there is tremendous disquiet among CARICOM governments as to what is going to happen in Guyana.  The Commonwealth and in CARICOM we are very concerned because Guyana is a sister country that has a lot in common with Belize and we have a close relationship and we want to see the best for that country.  If it does well, the whole of CARICOM will do well and if it does bad, the whole of CARICOM will be impacted.  So, to that extent, it’s causing us a great deal of pain.”


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