The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to the March 2020 General and Regional Elections in Guyana has concluded that, notwithstanding the many challenges surrounding the elections, the people of Guyana ultimately had the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
In their final report, the COG indicated that freedoms of association, assembly, expression and movement were largely respected, polling was generally conducted in an orderly, transparent and largely peaceful environment, and the closing procedures were on the whole well-managed. Moreover, the counts at polling stations were generally well-conducted and transparent.
The COG did however note that there were serious difficulties with the tabulation, transmission, and announcement of results for the most populous Region 4. This raised serious credibility concerns and ultimately led to a five-month delay to the conclusion of the electoral process.
Based upon these findings, the COG encourages Guyana to conduct a full inquiry into the elections and establish a robust and inclusive domestic mechanism to drive urgent electoral and constitutional reforms. It lays out a number of recommendations for consideration to improve the quality, credibility, transparency and inclusiveness of electoral processes and conduct of future elections.
The members of the COG dedicated the Report to the memory of the Chairperson of the COG, the late Rt Hon Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister of Barbados. Hon Arthur led the Group with great commitment and passion and continued to follow election developments up to his passing on 27 July 2020, a week before the formal declaration of results on 2 August 2020. The COG is indebted to him for his tireless work.