I call on the U.S. Ambassador to invoke sanctions against those linked to corrupt practices and violations of our democratic culture

Dear Editor,

Democracy is not just about having or guaranteeing free and fair elections (FFE). The ABCE countries protected the will of the voters in the March 2020 elections. The country is grateful and grateful. Is the FFE the beginning and the end of the democratic process? Do ABCE countries only care about free and fair elections? Don’t they feel a moral duty to also ensure democratic governance in the country (consultation by the ruling party with the opposition and with the citizens, representatives of civic and political organizations)?

There is no doubt that free and fair periodic elections are the hallmark of democracy. But once citizens vote, that is not the end of their involvement in the democratic process. The public is also endowed with a number of rights characteristic of democracy. But unfortunately, these rights are not enforced. This includes the right to criticize the government without fear of victimization. The government should accept open criticism of its actions. Democratic governance also implies absolute transparency and accountability in policy-making, spending, awarding contracts, etc. In addition, the government must provide opposition and civic groups equal access to state media with the freedom to question the government.

All the preceding features of democracy are absent in Guyana. The ABCE countries guaranteed the country free and fair elections. But why don’t they talk about the lack of transparency and accountability and abuse of state media and the only private media house that is more sycophant in favor of the government than state media? Why do the ABCE countries not denounce the lack of democracy in the selection of presidential candidates in all parties? Why don’t they criticize state media for their abuse of government opponents and critics?

What we have in Guyana is not a democracy but an elected autocracy. The other rights of the people are not applied. The government is controlled by two individuals who have zero tolerance for criticism. There have been countless complaints about the lack of accountability and transparency over the past two years; similar situation under the last regime and before 2015. When the last regime was determined to manipulate the election result, sanctions were threatened. The visas of senior officials and their family members have been canceled by the United States. I call on the United States Ambassador to invoke similar sanctions against those who are linked to corrupt practices and/or who violate other norms of a democratic culture.

Sincerely,

Samuel Gitens

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