A group of five US Senators headed by the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, James E. Risch, have written to President David Granger requesting that “credible international observers” be allowed to return to Guyana to observe the vote recount.
The vote recount which is currently underway is being observed by a number of international and local accredited Observer groups including the Organisation of American States and the European Union with a high-level team from CARICOM scrutinizing the entire process.
In their letter to the President, US Senators, James E. Risch, Marco Rubio, Benjamin Cardin, Robert Menendez and Tim Kaine said they welcome the recount process and the President’s commitment to abide by the result of the recount, but they believe “a crucial part of this process is that credible international observers be allowed to return to Guyana and be given free and unfettered access to all aspects of the recount in order to confirm the integrity of the process”.
The US Ambassador to Guyana had written the President seeking permission for representatives from The Carter Center and the International Republican Institute to be allowed into Guyana to observe the recount.
While the Carter Center is an accredited Observer for the elections, the role of the IRI in the elections process was related to voter and civic education programmes for the Elections Commission.
The President through the Foreign Minister had indicated the health emergency measures that Guyana currently has in place for the coronavirus pandemic. Those measures include a suspension of incoming passenger flights. However, special permission could be granted for special flights. But the Foreign Minister said Guyana’s efforts to protect its citizens from disease must be respected.
The US Senators who wrote the President are hopeful that some accomodation could be made that would allow the teams from the Carter Centre and the IRI in.
They said while they recognize that Guyana has closed its international airport as part of its efforts to address COVID-19, “we understand that your government is providing special authorization in important cases. With full respect for Guyana’s public health measures, we are hopeful that you will consider the presence of additional international observers an essential step to strengthening the credibility of the recount”.
The five senators said the President’s leadership in this critical moment is crucial to Guyana entering this new era with confidence and hope among all Guyanese for a better future.
The President’s office has indicated that he has not budged from his position as articulated in the letter that was dispatched to the US Ambassador from the Foreign Affairs Minister on his behalf.