CARICOM Heads declare support for re-elected Guyana Government
- urge return to normalcy

Guyana Chronicle
April 12, 2001

HEADS of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have come out in open support of the government of President Bharrat Jagdeo, re-elected at the March 19 elections.

They have also deplored the "wanton violence" triggered by street protests against the government by the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) since the incumbent People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won the elections.

The Bureau of the CARICOM heads met in Barbados Tuesday and said they were "deeply disturbed" by events here after the elections.

Current CARICOM Chairman, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur said the heads reviewed the Guyana situation and decided "that the Community should express its support for the newly re-elected government as it seeks to carry out its mandate entrusted to it by the electorate."

In a statement, Mr Arthur noted that the CARICOM electoral observer mission to Guyana led by former President of the Jamaica Court of Appeal, Mr Carl Rattray, "has advised that a genuine effort was made by the Guyana Elections Commission to hold elections which were free, fair and transparent."

"The report of the electoral observer mission noted that the poll was orderly and in compliance with established procedures, and was conducted in an atmosphere free of intimidation or fear", he said.

"CARICOM Heads of Government fully endorse the report of the CARICOM electoral observer mission.

"We therefore wish to state that we recognise the legitimacy of the present Government of Guyana", Arthur reported.

He said heads "call on all parties to abide by the results of the polls and to urgently commit themselves to a process of genuine dialogue with a view to resolving any differences."

"We do not believe that wanton violence, the destruction of property and the endangering of life can serve to create an environment which can foster economic development and the political and social stability necessary for the Guyanese people to achieve their full potential.

"The Heads of Government of (CARICOM) therefore call for a return to normalcy in Guyana", he said, adding that the community was ready to assist Guyana "in its efforts to overcome the present difficulties."