In late March, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had appealed for support of an international inquiry into foreign interference in Guyana’s 2020 elections.
He went as far as to say that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) was gleefully inviting more foreign interference in the electoral process, and made reference to the party hiring a controversial U.S.-based company to set its agenda and its calling for sanctions against Guyana.
Most importantly, Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted the number of times American Deputy Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo intervened during the electoral process to issue threats against Guyana.
In his most recent column ‘My Turn’ dedicated to Guyana’s 54th Independence anniversary which will be observed tomorrow, Prime Minister Nagamootoo was keen to point out that foreign interference in Guyana’s elections strikes mortally at the heart of our independence, and that of other Caribbean states.
But not only that, he said it violates the supreme law, the Constitution of Guyana, which affirms the sovereignty of the Guyanese people and the independence of the nation.
The Prime Minister sought to remind that Article 1 of the Constitution confers on Guyana the status of an indivisible, secular, democratic sovereign state.
In fact, he said, “Sovereignty, it says in Article 9, belongs to the people. That sovereignty has been won after many centuries of resistance to foreign European occupiers who decimated our indigenous peoples and had kept all of our other ancestors in slavery and bondage.”
The Prime Minister added, “On May 26, 1966, the Guyanese people reclaimed our dignity, and affirmed sovereignty or people’s power. On that day, the Guyanese people ended foreign rule. From that day our Guyanese people pledged “to honour always the flag of Guyana, and to be loyal to their country” (National Pledge); and gave to Guyana “our homage, our service, each day that we live” (National Anthem).”
He noted that all public officials, including the President, Prime Minister and Ministers, are required “to bear true faith and allegiance to the people of Guyana”- the Oath of Office.
He, therefore, concluded that the observance of Independence Day allows all Guyanese a moment of reflection on the value of our citizenship, and on our duty to defend the State.
NO INTERFERENCE, JUST GOOD DIPLOMACY
Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch said that when one is to consider what happened on elections day in Guyana and the events that unravelled thereafter, she finds it strange that the general public would agree that over 130 countries, including the United States of America are trying to interfere in Guyana’s affairs.
The 130 countries also include those in the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Referring to the international elections observers representing those countries, she said, “If you add it all up they represent over a 130 countries and if you add their comments to those of the ABCEU countries [United States of America, Great Britain, Canada and the European Union] with those of Norway and France and India you have well over 130 countries saying very much the same things.”
She continued, “I think statements have been consistent whether they were very positive after election day or maybe less than positive after things unravelled after election day. So I would find it surprising that the general public would agree that over 130 countries have interfered.”
However, it was asked of the Diplomat if there is a fine line between good diplomacy and interference.
This was Ambassador Lynch’s response, “I have been engaging in good diplomacy and I am very proud of it. Again, having met with a wide variety of people here [in Guyana] and listening, I do feel it is my job to not only listen but to speak out if I see things that are occurring that are not expected or what I would expect in a democracy.”
Among other things, the Diplomat explained that good diplomacy does not mean you sit quietly. She said it also means that you listen to all of the folks that are in leadership positions and also average citizens as well.
She added, “And you speak up if you feel the need to. I certainly do not see how that could be called interference.”
To support her position, Ambassador Lynch had made reference to the Lima Group of which Guyana is a member, and has been speaking out about the crisis in Venezuela in which it is involved in a border dispute at the International Court of Justice.
In fact, she reminded that Guyana has not been shy about being a part of the Lima Group and speaking out against what is going on in Venezuela, which she noted is certainly not adhering to democratic principles and the rule of law.
The Lima Group is a multilateral body that was established following the Lima Declaration on 8 August 2017 in the Peruvian capital of Lima, where representatives of 12 countries met in order to establish a peaceful exit to the crisis in Venezuela.