Viewpoints on Energy, Geopolitics, and Civilization
David E. Lewis/Miami Herald: Guyana on a
constitutional crisis, vote results are hostage
The Stabroek Wharf
When a massive oil discovery was made off the coast of Guyana in 2015, hopes soared that the historically marginalized and impoverished nation could build a path to providing better lives for its 786,000 citizens. Five years later, however, those hopes are on the verge of turning to despair as a persistent political conflict sparked by the ruling party threatens to deteriorate into a full-blown democratic crisis.
Guyana has been in a prolonged constitutional crisis since Dec. 18, 2018. That's when the government of President David Granger and his ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity-Alliance for Change (APNU-AFC) lost a No Confidence Motion (NCM) vote against it in the National Assembly, then failed to step down within three months as mandated by the Constitution and a ruling of the regional Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The constitutional crisis endured through all of 2019, with various legal disputes, and effectively launched the country into an election campaign. Eventually, per a Supreme Court decision, the APNU-AFC called for general elections on March 2, 2020.
Those elections were held but, three months later, remain undecided.
According to the votes tabulated on election night, Granger and his ruling coalition appear headed for defeat. With results in from all but one district, the opposition People's Progressive Party, appeared to have an insurmountable lead of 51,000 votes.
But, in a highly unusual move, election authorities delayed posting the results for the country's most populous voting district, known as Region 4. All previous elections in Guyana have been determined by the voter turnout in this area. As Region 4 goes, so goes the election victory. Region 4 voters were effectively and arbitrarily disenfranchised by the Guyana Elections Commission..
Despite strong criticism from domestic and international observers for a lack of transparency, the Elections Commission released results to the media on March 13. The results show a win by the APNU–AFC coalition by 59,077 votes, which would give APNU-AFC a one-seat majority in the National Assembly.
The People's Progressive Party immediately rejected the results and demanded a recount with independent observers in place. It accused the Granger administration of vote-rigging and “thievery.”
In the aftermath of the contested vote, various international observer missions in-country including of the EU, Organization of American States (OAS), The Commonwealth and the Carter Center concluded that, “the tabulation of results for the election in Region 4 was interrupted and remains incomplete.”
The United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Canada have monitored the process closely. They have made clear to all parties, including the Elections Commission, the need for a free and fair transparent recount process to ensure the legitimacy of the victor and the subsequent government.
After a lengthy legal battle and a decision by the Supreme Court, which was not initially accepted by the government or Elections Commission, the commission did eventually adhere to the decision. It announced a recount of election ballots, which began on May 6, but failed to conclude within the 25 days allotted.
A new recount deadline has been set for June 13, with a final election decision to be announced on June 16.
The opposition has expressed “grave doubt” concerning the lack of transparency in the process so far and questioned the commission's credibility in conducting the recount fairly and transparently.
The recount observation process includes only one high-level three-person delegation from CARICOM and a local OAS presence — enough to cover only a fraction of the counting stations. The Granger government denied requests by the Carter Center to return to observe the recount.
Suspicion is that the Granger government wants to cling to power because of the revenue experts project will be generated by ExxonMobil for oil exploration in a series of offshore wells being developed.
As a result of the oil windfall, the World Bank projects Guyana's GDP will grow by 51.7 percent in 2020 and the International Monetary Fund predicts that by 2030, the government's share of earnings from oil could reach $10 billion in real terms. The figure is more than twice the country's current GDP.
The Guyanese people, however, are unlikely to benefit as long as the country remains mired in a political crisis with a disputed government in power. It has all the makings of another democratic breakdown as witnessed next door in Venezuela.
The international community has an essential role to play in demanding and accepting nothing less than a transparent and credible recount process to ensure the will of the Guyanese people is honored in their next government. Guyana stands at the threshold of an entirely new future. Its people deserve political leadership that looks to the common good over narrow interests.
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.
Dr. David E. Lewis is vice president of Manchester Trade Ltd., an international business advisory firm in Washington, D.C. and a former Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Development in Puerto Rico. He is adjunct professor at the FIU School of Business. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views .
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Miami Herald on June 03, 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 06 09 2020
Copyright ©1999-2020 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
Petroleumworld.com Copyright ©2019 Petroleumworld.
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Send this story to a friend Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: email@example.com
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels