Congressman accuses US of meddling in Guyana’s elections
Bridgetown, Barbados, May 11, 2020 (Barbados TODAY): A high-ranking United States Democratic Congressman has accused the US State Department officials of interfering in the elections to benefit Guyana’s main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
Ballots in the disputed elections held on March 2 are currently being recounted by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in the presence of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) observers.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus, made the accusations while being interviewed on a television show by Rickford Burke, president of the Brooklyn, New York-based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID).
He strongly urged US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch, and Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US Department of State, Michael Kozak, not to interfere.
“Traditionally, we can monitor how democracy is playing itself out in different parts of the world, but to interfere in such an extraordinary way and an in a manner, which favours one party, the opposition party, potentially to the detriment of the ruling party, is deeply troubling to a lot of us in Washington, DC,” said Jeffries, who represents the eighth US Congressional District in New York.
Burke claimed that the US government officials have also made several threatening statements against officials of President David Granger’s ruling APNU+AFC coalition government, as well as against GECOM officials.
US not in a position to tell others how to conduct affairs
“I do find it somewhat ironic that, at the same time, when the US government may be trying to direct Guyana as to how it should conduct itself in the form of an election, that we’ve been so irresponsible in many parts of the country, like in Wisconsin, where there is a refusal to permit universal access to mail-in voting and you compel people to vote in densely packed polling sites, as was done in a Wisconsin election in early April, in a manner that may have contributed to community spread in terms of COVID-19,” said Jeffries.
“So, it seems to me that we are not in a position to tell anybody, until we get our own act together, as it relates to how faithfully we conduct a free, fair election that protects the well-being of the American people, that we are not necessarily in a position to tell anybody else about how to go about doing their job,” he added.
A member of the House Judiciary Committee, Jeffries invoked Robert Muller investigation into the Russian interference into the US 2016 presidential election.
He noted that “Russia interfered in the US election in sweeping and systematic fashion to help Donald Trump win the US presidency,” contending that the Mueller Report also concluded that the Trump campaign acceptance of the Russians “was wildly inconsistent with American democracy.”
Jeffries, who was also a House Manager of the Trump impeachment trial in the US Senate, underscored Trump’s invitation for Ukraine to interfere in the US 2020 elections to dig up dirt against presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, former US Vice President Joseph Biden.
“It was a stunning corrupt abuse of power,” Jeffries asserted. “The Ukrainians should not be involved in a US election, the Chinese should not be involved in a US election, the Russians should not be involved in a US election, that’s a settled principle,” he said.
Jeffries continued: “At the same time, if we are alarmed at foreign interference in our electoral process, why in the world is the United States Government engaging in foreign interference in the affairs of an independent nation in Guyana?”
He called for US government officials to allow the Guyanese people to freely elect its government without interference from the US government.
“It is appropriate to broadly ensure that there is a free and fair election in Guyana and in other parts of the world that is carried out independently and in a manner that does not result in the United States trying to sway or alter the results, one way or the other,” Jeffries said.
“The people of Guyana should be able to decide, as they have done in the past, who they see fit to lead them into the future,” he added. (CMC)