THE National Democratic Council comprises a group of Guyanese-Canadians who reside in Ontario, Canada. The group was formed 30 years ago mainly for the purpose of supporting democracy in Guyana and contributing to the social well-being of Guyanese, both in Canada and Guyana.
As Guyanese we would like to see that the Rule of Law is upheld in our country, so that persons who reside inside and outside of Guyana can be confident that justice and fairness will always prevail, that our laws will be respected and that all persons will be treated fairly and equally under the law. Within recent years Guyana has moved from being known as a narco-state and as a country where extra-judicial killings were rife, to a country where the Rule of Law has, to a large extent, been restored. Since one of our primary goals is to support democracy in Guyana, we endorse an electoral process which is free and fair, and which can withstand international scrutiny.
We therefore applauded the presence of international and regional groups to observe the elections of March 2, 2020. We have been very disturbed by the fact that the invitation to observe the electoral process has resulted in obvious and blatant interference from international and regional groups of which CARICOM is in the forefront. The electoral process is still incomplete, and several court actions have been filed. The most recent court case is still before the Caribbean Court of Justice and the matter is therefore sub judice. Notwithstanding this, there have been demands from CARICOM and from several CARICOM leaders that election results should be declared and that a government should be sworn in. The outgoing chairperson of CARICOM, Ms. Mia Mottley, is a lawyer and is aware that once a matter is before the courts there should be no attempts to influence the court’s decisions whether directly or indirectly. She has chosen to ignore this rule by making comments which suggest a disregard for the will of the Guyanese people.
Ms. Mottley’s statement came after similar prejudicial statements were made by incoming chairman of CARICOM Mr. Ralph Gonsalves, who urged The Guyana Elections Commission to declare a winner after only the first phase of a four-phase recount process had been completed. Apart from the lack of professionalism, the remarks made by CARICOM leaders and the continuous interference by all regional and international groups transcend the boundaries of national sovereignty. As a group of concerned Guyanese, we wish to record our strong disapproval of such interference. We expect international groups to be totally impartial and objective in their approach to issues concerning our country. We would like to remind the Caribbean Community that: 1. Membership in CARICOM does not give CARICOM countries the right to infringe on the sovereignty of another member country. 2. An invitation to CARICOM to observe an electoral process is not an invitation to impose its own preferences onto the electorate. 3. Infringement on the sovereignty of one country and unwelcome interference into its electoral process sets a precedent that may eventually lead to similar interference in the affairs of other member countries. In order to gain and maintain the respect of the international community, CARICOM should strive to be seen as a body that upholds and maintains the Rule of Law at all cost, eschew any support for electoral fraud in its member countries and eliminate any semblance of bias. Many persons in Guyana and the Caribbean have lost respect for CARICOM over the past few weeks. We as a group still believe that CARICOM can serve a useful purpose. Nonetheless, we strongly feel the need to emphasise that we expect CARICOM and heads of CARICOM member countries to act in a fair and upstanding manner that shows respect for the Rule of Law in member countries, to respect the sovereignty of member countries and to refrain from a display of bias in favour of a particular political party in any member country. We trust that CARICOM will rethink its approach to dealing with Guyana as well as with all member countries.
Dr. Valerie Dye, Secretary NDC Toronto