Viewpoints on Energy, Geopolitics, and Civilization
The Carter Center: A High-Stakes
Election in Guyana
International election observers in Guyana
On March 2, citizens of Guyana went to the polls for what the country was calling “the mother of all elections.”
Every election is important, of course, but this one was deemed especially so because five years ago, Exxon discovered massive amounts of oil off the coast of Guyana. The first barrels hit the market in January. Now this small, poor nation is poised to become a very rich one. And the country's two major political parties – which are divided largely along ethnic lines – desperately want to control the coming wealth.
The 2020 election came more than a year after a National Assembly no-confidence motion against President David Granger in December 2018. The ruling party challenged the motion in the courts for months but lost. The newfound oil revenue, many Guyanese believe, could keep the winner of the 2020 election in power for decades.
“The stakes in this election are very high,” said David Carroll, director of the Carter Center's Democracy Program . “One major political parties' base is mostly Afro-Guyanese, and the other is mostly Indo-Guyanese, and elections tend to bring longstanding ethnic tensions to the surface. Because The Carter Center has a long history in Guyana – President Carter first led an election observation mission there in 1992 – and is seen as a trusted partner, it was important for us to observe this election.”
The Center deployed a team of 10 election experts and long-term observers to Guyana in January, and in late February, they were joined by more than 30 short-term observers led by Aminata Touré, former prime minister of Senegal, and Jason Carter, chair of The Carter Center Board of Trustees.
“Guyana stands at a crossroads,” Carter said. “Not only is it critical that this election is seen as credible, it's also essential that it serves as a springboard to a future that is more inclusive and so that all the people of Guyana can share in this new wealth.”
Election day proceeded smoothly. The Center's observers sent back mostly positive reports from all 10 of the country's regions. But tallying went astray in Region 4 – which is the largest region and includes the capital of Georgetown – when, after only half the results for the region had been tabulated in the presence of observers, the returning officer responsible for the tallying abruptly announced the rest of results, which indicated that the ruling party had come from behind to win the election.
The Carter Center and other international observer missions denounced the declaration of unverified results, saying they lacked credibility, and called for a return to the verification process. The opposition party filed a lawsuit, and Guyana's chief justice ordered a return to the previous tallying process. But the restarted process didn't meet the standards set by the court, according to Carter Center observers and others.
Days later, the leaders of the two parties agreed to a recount supervised by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but an injunction filed by ruling party supporters has halted the recount, for now.
And so the country – and the world – waits.
Four weeks after election day, Guyana still doesn't have a new president. The Carter Center – concerned about the stalled process, international travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 virus, and harassment of observers by ruling party supporters – made the difficult decision to pull its observers out of the country on March 20.
“We're still committed to observing the entire electoral process,” said Brett Lacy, an associate director in the Center's Democracy Program. “Nonpartisan observers have an important role to play. We report what we see and hear to the rest of the world. Whoever wins the election should want to ensure that their victory is seen as credible.”
The Center is also committed to supporting constitutional reform in Guyana.
“The Carter Center has long believed that Guyana needs to reform its constitution and electoral laws to get rid of its winner-takes-all election system, which tends to exacerbate conflict,” Carter said. “We believe it is critical for Guyana to make these changes to help make it possible for Guyanese to live together in peace and prosperity.”
We invite you to join us as a sponsor.
Circulated Videos, Articles, Opinions and Reports which carry your name and brand are used to target Entrepreneurs through our site, promoting your organization’s services. The opportunity is to insert in our stories pages short attention-grabbing videos, or to publish your own feature stories.
The Carter Center is a nongovernmental , not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He and his wife Rosalynn Carter partnered with Emory University with a fundamental commitment to human rights, advancing democracy and the alleviation of human suffering, the Center seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views .
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by The Carter Center on March 31, 2020. All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
PW 300.000 plus request per week
Hit your target - Advertise with us
All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator.
Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated. Petroleumworld Copyright© 1999-2018 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors.
Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!
Petroleumworld News 01 01 2020
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Send this story to a friend Write to email@example.com
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels