GUYANA-POLITICS-Opposition party wants CARICOM to remain, makes yet another pitch for international observers.


Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Tuesday said he is prepared to write Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments urging that the three-member CARICOM team observing the recount of the disputed March 2 reginal and general elections be allowed to remain here until the entire process is completed.

Jagdeo, in a statement in which he sought to update supporters of the main opposition People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C0 on the progress regarding the recount exercise, said it appeared that the 25-day period allocated for the recounting of the ballots would not be sufficient.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is conducting the recount in the presence of CARICOM and other international observers including the Organisation of American States (OAS) after the PPP/C and the David Granger led ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (PNU) both claimed victory in the election for the control of the 65-member Parliament.

'I was told that Mr. Granger expressed a desire to have them remain in the country throughout. We also are happy that the CARICOM team is here and we are concerned that they may be frustrated because they have been here for quite a while.

'They were first told like two weeks, then 25 days and now it would be extended if they (GECOM) only agree to two (additional) work stations which is what they seem to have agreed to then it would be extended for much longer,' Jagdeo said, adding that the CARICOM here 'is a major safeguard'

He said that he had spoken to the CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin La Roqcue on Tuesday regarding the work of the team 'thus far and I also shared with him our desire to have the CARICOM team remain or the duration of the exercise'.

He said if it means having a joint approach to CARICOM with Granger and himself writing to the regional leaders, he was prepared to do so.

'Mr. Granger writing the head of CARICOM and I also can write the head of CARICOM to say that this is our mutual desire to have the team remain throughout...if we both want the CARICOM team to remain then we should be willing to approach the head of CARICOM and other leaders directly to ensure that this happens'.

Jagdeo said even though the party is pushing for the CARICOM team to remain here, it would still be hoping that the government allows the observers from the US-based Carter Centre and the International Republican Institute (IRI) to participate...

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