Act in declaring an electoral result without further delay


Letter to Justice (retired)  Claudette Singh,  Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (Geocom)

 Act in declaring an electoral result without further delay

The following letter was sent to the Chair of Geocom by York University Professor Radhakrishnan Persaud, President of the recently founded Institute for the Gobal Avancement of Constitutional Principles:

Dear Justice Singh:

Dr. Radhakrishnan Persaud

As a newly founded not-for-profit Institute for the global advancement of constitutional

principles, we have been following the political law developments arising from the recent

general and regional elections in the Republic of Guyana. In accordance with the purposes of

our Institute, we wish modestly and cautiously to comment on the current political impasse in

Guyana. Our object is to identify and encourage the strengthening of the principles of

democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law within all nations, whichever model of

democratic government they have adopted. 

We are cognizant of the fact that history, geography, economies and culture are likely to

produce complex and differing constitutional arrangements and accommodations of diverse

interests. We also recognize that tensions based on diverse ethnicities will be both in a nation’s

constitutional structure and in political relations (i.e., amongst elected public officials) — and

thus the course of the life of a nation.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the impasse in Guyana continues, notwithstanding

the many and varied legitimate public and private international voices that have taken a position

in the hope of ending the conflict.

It is clear that the normal institutional channels for establishing legitimacy of holding

power have been placed under stress in Guyana. Deep questions and issues are raised and

claims are being made at both the campaign/voting and supervisory levels of the electoral

process. The pronouncements by Guyana’s high courts and final judicial tribunal, the Caribbean Court of Justice, have illustrated the difficulty of this moment and the depth of the impasse.

 The object, which all pursue, is to find a way out of the political paralysis — a resolution

of the crisis in the interests of the peoples of Guyana and in accordance with the institutional

structures and functions of Guyana’s democratic experiment. In this, the integrity of

the institutions of governance is paramount; so, also, is sensitivity to ethnic claims and societal

cleavages.

What is required –at this fraught time– for the viability of Guyanese democracy is an

orderly and legally legitimate course for moving beyond this impasse. This requires following a

course of action that immediately and clearly identifies the political leader who can

constitutionally and legally be invited to form a government. This immediate resolution,

however, does not foreclose further challenges and reviews based on Guyanese electoral law.

Nor does it supersede processes for imposing consequences or remedies for any electoral

misbehaviour that are established by Guyanese law or are implied in the underlying

constitutional requirement that Guyanese governmental leadership be determined by fair and

democratic elections. 

Therefore, in view of the gravity of the risk and urgency of the current situation,

we strongly recommend that as Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission, you act with

the sufficient concurrence of other members of the Commission in declaring an electoral result

without further delay, that, at the present time, accords with the electoral result as confirmed

by Guyana’s highest judicial body, the Caribbean Court of Justice — whatever the limitations

of the Court’s pronouncements may be.

 The Commission’s declaration of a winner of the elections under your leadership will

bring a necessary degree of stability to the Guyanese nation. To reiterate, such a declaration will

not terminate the processes for administering fair elections or holding electoral behaviour to

account. The principles of fair elections will be better established in Guyana through a careful

and rule-determined review of the 2020 elections. Democratic and constitutional traditions are

best served through close examination and careful deliberation under established regimes of

accountability. 

We believe that government under the rule of law with relatively independent and

impartial judicial bodies (with all their warts and imperfections) should be respected. The

legitimate results of the democratic processes of the March 2, 2020 elections should not have

been impeded in the first place. Indeed, the broader object with respect to democratic

institutions and processes is to move closer to the ideals of a constitutional regime based on the

consent of the governed.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Radhakrishnan Persaud

President