Thu | Jul 2, 2020

PM’s position ‘misguided’ - US group disappointed by Mottley’s position in Guyana elections impasse

Published:Monday | June 29, 2020 | 12:33 AM
Mottley
Mottley

NEW YORK (CMC):

A group based in the United States has expressed disappointment by what it says is Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s “misguided” position on Guyana’s March 2 elections impasse.

“Without seizing herself of the full set of facts, Prime Minister Mottley, in her capacity as CARICOM chairman, jumped into Guyana’s elections politics like a bull in a China shop to support her friend Bharrat Jagdeo, leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP),” claimed Rickford Burke, president of the Brooklyn, New York-based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), in an open letter to Mottley and the citizens of CARICOM.

Burke, an international law consultant, alleged that “at the apparent behest of lobbying from Bharrat Jagdeo, and in coordination with western nations, Prime Minister Mottley viciously attacked Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer Col Keith Lowenfield.

“His elections results report shows that Guyana’s ruling APNU+AFC coalition won the elections,” he said. “Like Jagdeo, Ms Mottley delivered remarks, penned in Georgetown and riddled with misinformation, which purported that the PPP won the elections.

“She recklessly called on the Guyana Elections Commission to declare the PPP the winner, although the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had already issued a restraining order against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), prohibiting it from declaring the results,” Burke added. “The prime minister is dead wrong. Guyana’s chief elections officer doesn’t work for her. Her blatant disrespect crossed the line.

“Furthermore, she demonstrated contempt for the ruling of the Guyana Court of Appeal, which directed GECOM to only count valid votes,” he continued. “More astonishingly, the prime minister violated the rules of judicial independence by commenting extensively on this matter, which is sub judice at the CCJ – an organ of CARICOM of which she is chairman.”

The CGID head said that Mottley’s action was “repugnant to the principles of jurisprudence”, stating that “her uninformed comments manifest an improper attempt to influence the outcome of the matter before the CCJ.

“As an attorney-at-law, the prime minister knows fully well that her conduct was inappropriate, as it affects the appearance of impartiality and independence of the CCJ, which is an imperative for the administration of justice in any jurisdiction,” Burke said. “No objective person who arms themselves with the facts will support Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s misguided position.”

CONSPIRACY

Burke alleged that the PPP is “part of an international conspiracy, with international actors, to force out the APNU+AFC coalition government to control Guyana’s oil and gas.

“The PPP is attempting to sneak into government through the back door with fraudulent ballots to re-establish an ethnocracy in Guyana to monopolise Guyana’s oil wealth,” he further alleged, claiming that the March 2 election in Guyana was plagued by “fraud and voter impersonation.”

Burke said that the police and Registrar of Deaths in Guyana conducted separate investigations and confirmed, through immigration records and death certificates, that “PPP operatives around Guyana voted for dead people and people who live abroad, whose names remain on the voters list.

“To cover up their fraud, they destroyed statutory, elections documents required by law to authenticate each ballot,” Burke alleged.

On Saturday, Mottley snubbed criticisms levelled at her for remarks she made earlier in the week about the disputed regional and general elections in Guyana.

“The truth hurts,” Mottley told a news conference in Barbados in response to the criticisms from certain sections of Guyana, including Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.

“The truth hurts, I have nothing more to say. But what we must never do in CARICOM is avoid the truth and avoid our principles. Thank you very much and have a pleasant day,” Mottley told reporters.

Mottley, on Wednesday, said “Many of us have observed with great sadness what has been transpiring in Guyana.”

“It is more than 100 days since the people of Guyana went to the polls. And yet there is no declared result,” she said. “From the very beginning, we have been clear and said consistently that every vote must count and every vote must be made to count in a fair and transparent way.”

But she added that, “Regrettably, we have seen a level of gamesmanship that has left much to be desired and has definitely not portrayed our Caribbean region in the best light.

“This is definitely NOT our finest hour, and we must not shy away from that reality,” said the CARICOM chair, adding that CARICOM “is concerned at reports that the chief elections officer has submitted a report to the Guyana Elections Commission, which is contrary to the directions given by the commission and which does not reflect the results of the recount process as certified by the very staff of the Guyana Elections Commission and witnessed by representatives of the political parties.”

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana’s highest court, on Wednesday issued an order that would continue to put on hold the Court of Appeal ruling regarding the disputed elections.