President David Granger (centre) with Congressman Albio Sires, Chairman of the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade Subcommittee (right), US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch (second from right), Congressman Gregory Meeks (left) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)
January 23 2020
President David Granger yesterday met three members of the United States Congress at the Ministry of the Presidency and assured them that the March 2nd General and Regional elections will be free and fair.
The team members comprised Congressmen Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade Subcommittee; Gregory Meeks (D-NY) 5th District and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) 9th District.
President Granger, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, State and Social Protection, Dr Karen Cummings, Dawn Hastings-Williams and Amna Ally respectively, said the meeting was cordial.
The meeting between the US congressional delegation (left) and the PPP/C which was held yesterday at Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
Analysts have questioned what the President has meant by his frequent reference to “credible” elections and if that couldn’t be a signal that the results of the election could be called into doubt.
“I was able to assure the US Congressional team that all the preparations that need to be made, are being made by the Elections Commission in accordance with the law and that the Executive Branch of Government has been compliant with the Constitution and, that we are working to ensure that the elections are indeed free and fair. We will continue to cooperate with the Elections Commission to do so,” President Granger said, according to the statement.
Granger, who is performing the functions of a caretaker President, said the Congressional team was told that there would be no disorder or lawlessness and that it could look forward to Guyana playing a key role in the Western Hemisphere.
The Congressmen and Congresswoman were accompanied by US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch.
People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo also met the team and was elated, noting that the legislators underscored the need for free and fair polls.
“We are extremely happy that a congressional delegation is visiting this country, just on the eve of one of the biggest elections. Their single message to me, and I understand to other persons and organisations that they have met, is that the United States of America wants free, fair and peaceful elections in Guyana. They also want all parties to abide by the results and outcome of these elections,” Jagdeo told Stabroek News yesterday following the meeting, which was held at his Church Street, Georgetown office.
The New York and New Jersey areas are home to most Guyanese who migrate to the United States and are the key states that local politicians visit to campaign.
Jagdeo last month returned from New York where he was the keynote speaker at a party fundraising dinner held in Queens.
Guyanese living in these states have lobbied their congressional representatives to keep an eye on Guyana to ensure free and fair elections.
The Opposition Leader said that he and supporters are elated that US legislators are not only fact finding ahead of the polls but also because the US will be one of many other countries that will be observing the elections.
“There will also [be] a major international presence here during the elections as there will be observers from not only the US but other international organisations. We are pleased about that because it is assuring, given the past experiences with rigged elections in Guyana. It gives persons some reassurance and assuage those fears and that can go a very far way,” he said.
PPP/C Presidential candidate Irfaan Ali was unable to meet with the delegation as Jagdeo explained that he is currently in “in the regions working”.
The team also yesterday met with the Private Sector Commission of Guyana, the American Chamber of Commerce – Guyana (AmCham) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The PSC later released a statement saying that the visit focused on fact finding ahead of the polls.
“The visit surrounds primarily the holding of national and regional elections in Guyana on March 2, 2020, to which end, the (legislators) are on a fact-finding mission to Guyana with the view of ensuring that the elections are free and fair,” the short PSC statement read.
A statement from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry also stressed the commitment to ensuring a free and fair elections process.
The meeting was attended by President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer; Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Captain Gerry Gouveia and President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Guyana, Zulfikar Ally.