Sat | Sep 26, 2020

US group disappointed in Mottley's position on Guyana elections

Published:Sunday | June 28, 2020 | 12:00 AMCMC
Prime Minister of Barbados and Chair of CARICOM, Mia Mottley.

(CMC): A group based in the United States has expressed disappointment with 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 (Caribbean Community), 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 (CEO), 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." 

He continued: “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 subjudice 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.”

Allegations over oil and gas 

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.

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), 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.

The CCJ will, on Wednesday, begin hearing arguments about whether it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal filed by Jagdeo and the party’s presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali, in relation to a Court of Appeal ruling.

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