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US Ambassador to Guyana clarifies statements

American Ambassador Brent Hardt has clarified what he meant when he was asked whether he believed the elections were “free and fair.”

In a response issued today the US Ambassador indicated that he clearly stated that the heads of mission would defer to the assessment and judgment of the three observer teams, who had the expertise to make that assessment.  He also noted that the international observer missions had yet to complete their final reports.  The Ambassador pointed out that all of the interim observation reports concluded that there were areas that could be done better.

The Ambassador pointed out that he did not make any final or independent assessment about the conduct of elections.  Rather, in seeking to summarize the interim observer assessments, the Ambassador was drawing upon the observations of the international missions.  The OAS Observer Mission stated that the electoral procedures and systems had generated a “generally inclusive and clean electoral process.”

The Commonwealth likewise found that “basic freedoms of association, assembly, and movement were provided for” that election staff was well prepared, and the vote counting “diligent.”  CARICOM likewise noted that the elections were conducted under good conditions.

Observers highlighted inequities in access to the media, issues relating to the use of government resources, and delays in providing declarations of results.  The Ambassador’s statement makes clear that he shares those concerns according to the response from the American Embassy today.

When the envoys issued their statement on Friday, he said they congratulated the people of Guyana for their dedication to the pursuit of free and fair elections. It was that statement the American envoy sought to clarify today.

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