Caricom welcomes end to protracted Guyana elections dispute

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) grouping yesterday congratulated Dr Irfaan Ali as the ninth president of Guyana as it welcomed the end of the protracted regional and general elections dispute in the country.

Ali, 40, was sworn into office on Sunday, hours after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) declared him the winner of the presidential elections held on March 2. GECOM also named the main Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as the victors in the poll receiving 32 seats as compared to 31 for the outgoing Coalition Administration — A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) — headed by former President David Granger. An amalgam of small opposition political parties has been awarded one seat in the 65-member National Assembly here.

In its statement, Caricom said that it “welcomed” the conclusion of the dispute with the declaration of the final results.

“The community congratulates His Excellency Mohammed Irfaan Ali, president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on their victory at the polls.”

The statement said Caricom chairman and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves called President Ali “to extend his best wishes, while secretary general, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, personally conveyed his congratulations to the president” during Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony.

“Caricom commends the people of Guyana for their patience and maturity during this protracted process, and will continue to support the country in its development efforts under its new Government,” the statement added.

The APNU has already indicated that it will file election petitions challenging the results of the elections.

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