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:
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
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
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
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.
Dr. Radhakrishnan Persaud