The outgoing chair of CARICOM, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley yesterday firmly stood by her position in relation to Guyana’s protracted elections, saying to her detractors here that “The truth hurts”.
Mottley, who has come under withering attack on social media by supporters of APNU+AFC, was on February 3rd this year conferred with the Order of Roraima by President David Granger.
On Wednesday, Mottley slammed the “gamesmanship” surrounding the Guyana elections and expressed bewilderment that the Chief Election Officer could by his own volition cancel over 115,000 votes.
She also stressed that the figures verified at the recount are the valid results of the March 2 General Elections.
“…we must ask – on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Elections Officer determine that he should invalidate one vote, far less over 115, 000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties”, she asked.
Mottley is the latest in a series of present and past CARICOM Heads of State who have publicly expressed concerns about the actions of the incumbent APNU+AFC coalition and its supporters.
Incoming Chair, Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent has called on President David Granger to accept the recount results and “take his licks like a man”.
“I am satisfied that CARICOM will not stand by idly and watch the recount– which was properly done–for the results to be set aside,” he stressed earlier this month during an appearance on NBC Radio St. Vincent and the Grenadines’
His comments were severely criticized by the incumbent, who claimed that his words were “prejudicial to the integrity of the process and its eventual outcome.”
“It is to be expected that CARICOM leaders would refrain from any actions or utterances that could undermine the legitimacy of the process and it credible conclusion,” Harmon said, while reminding that the 73-year-old Gonsalves who has led his country for 19 years is currently embroiled in an Election Petition.
Owen Arthur, the head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to the March 2nd elections, and former long-serving Prime Minister of Barbados later came out in support of Gonsalves.
Speaking in two separate interviews with Guyanese media, Arthur, declared that Gonsalves’ statement that CARICOM will not stand by and watch an election being stolen is perfectly in order and is exactly what is expected.
He reminded that members of the Community have signed a Charter for Civil Society which enjoins upon them the responsibility to have free and fair elections. “Leaders of CARICOM as a class would rather free and fair elections [and] if the government does not want to accept the results and still wants to stay in office then CARICOM will have to decide whether to suspend Guyana,” the former PM stated.
Rowley was the first head of state to express concern about the process, telling a reporter in April that he was concerned.
“I am getting a feeling that this is not going to end well…I hope I am wrong but that feeling…I am not having a good feeling…I have this unsettling feeling [that grows] with every passing day,” he said
In her statement on Tuesday, the Barbadian PM also expressed sadness that Guyana is still to see an election result over 114 days later and at the same time expressed determination that democracy must triumph.
She reminded that the Community had invested resources in seeing a credible end to the process including the deployment of a three-person team of scrutineers.
“These numbers and the certification of them were…witnessed by our CARICOM Observer Team. They travelled to Guyana (in spite of the pandemic and the risk to themselves) and they scrutinised the recount process,” she noted, before adding that the Team was of the unshakeable belief that the people of Guyana expressed their will at the ballot box on March 2 and that the results of the recount certified as valid by the staff of GECOM led to an orderly conclusion on which the declaration of the results of the election would be made.