Carter Center Preliminary Statement on the
2006 Guyana Elections
31 August 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In Guyana: Jason Forrester (592) 609-7274 or (592) 227-3273
In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes (404) 420-5124
Delivered by Sir John Compton
The Carter Center commends the people of Guyana, the political parties, and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for what so far has been the most peaceful and orderly electoral process in recent history. This speaks to the maturing of Guyana's political culture and the deep yearning for peace and progress, which is shared by all Guyanese. That said, the frustration and fear that exists across society must be acknowledged and mitigated through actions of political leaders over the coming days and beyond.
If Guyana is to realize its great potential and be genuinely responsive to all its citizens, the government of Guyana must be perceived as the government of all the people and must equitably distribute the benefits derived from the efforts of all. The challenge facing Guyana's leaders is to use these elections as an opportunity to build new bridges, engage in genuine and sustained dialogue, and develop mechanisms that will allow Guyanese, down to the community level, to have confidence that the instruments devised for their governance address the needs of all.
To achieve these goals, the parties should redouble efforts to ensure full implementation of the constitutional reforms agreed upon following the Herdmanston Accord an important step towards building greater inclusiveness in the nation's institutions and practices of governance. The Standing Committee on Constitutional Review provides a forum for political parties and civil society to deliberate on constitutional and electoral reforms for the future. Finally, the National Development Strategy, unanimously endorsed by the last parliament, provides another framework for cooperative efforts to achieve common long-term objectives. These mechanisms and institutions should be nurtured to deepen the democratic process.
The character and resilience of the Guyanese people has been borne out by these elections. If the current hopeful spirit is maintained, and Guyana's political leaders make wise and far-sighted choices, acknowledging deeply-held concerns, this could be a turning point in Guyana's history. The Carter Center remains willing to help Guyana realize its full potential.
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. To learn more about The Carter Center, please visit www.cartercenter.org