Even as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is yet to make a declaration on the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, United States (U.S.) Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo has announced that visa restrictions will be placed on individuals “responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana”.
Pompeo made the remarks during a press briefing today. He called on President David Granger to “step aside” based on elections results not yet declared.
“Today I’m announcing visa restrictions on individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to restrictions. The Granger government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.
Article 92 of the Constitution of Guyana states that “a person assuming the office of the President in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution shall, unless his office sooner become vacant under Article 178, continue in office until the person elected to the office of the President at the next election held under Article 91 assumes office.”
President Granger has long stated that, he like the rest of Guyana, has little choice but to await a formal declaration of the results by the Chair of the Elections Commission. He has also pledged that his government will accept the results of the elections as declared, when declared.
“The Executive branch of Government does not have a role in managing elections. That role is given unto the Constitution, exclusively, explicitly to the Elections Commission. I cannot claim victory, which I have not done, and I cannot concede defeat, which I have not done, unless I’m notified, formally, by the Chairman of the Elections Commission,” he said in July 2020.
Nonetheless, lobbied by the main Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, several U.S. senators and congressmen have called for sanctions to be heaped on Guyana and specific individuals.
It is not the first time that the U.S. Secretary of State has commented on Guyana’s electoral situation. Several tweets have come from the U.S. Official about the need for Guyana’s elections to be transparently concluded ‘or else’.
Reaching out to the U.S. Embassy this morning, the Guyana Chronicle was unable to obtain a list of the said individuals that could face visa restrictions. However, the newspaper was informed that the U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch will be hosting a press briefing on July 16 to discuss these and other matters.
The Guyana Chronicle was also informed that a statement on the matter is expected soon from the government.