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Arrival Statement of President Jimmy Carter on Observing the Guyana Elections

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA... I am pleased to return to Guyana to observe these important elections. As many of you know, The Carter Center observed the elections here in 1992 and has remained active in supporting political and economic development in Guyana ever since. Rosalynn and I have followed the current campaign with great interest and are hopeful that these elections will contribute to the consolidation of democracy in Guyana. We are very fortunate that former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford of Barbados has joined us as co-leader of the Carter Center delegation.

Before the election on Monday, we plan to meet with presidential candidates and members of political parties, elections officials, civil society leaders, representatives of the police force and defense forces, and other election observer groups. As in all of our work on elections, our observer delegation will remain completely impartial, while maintaining steadfast support for the democratic process in Guyana.

Ultimately, it is the Guyanese people who will judge the quality of this election, and who will decide the outcome of the election. As observers, our job is simply to assess the electoral process and to report our views. To that end, members of the Carter Center delegation will travel to all 10 regions of the country this Saturday and complete reports after the polls close and votes are tabulated. In order to maximize our efforts, we are coordinating our work with other observer groups. We plan to issue a preliminary report of our observations on Tuesday, March 20.

All Guyanese have a vital role to play in healing the wounds of past political conflict, including President Jagdeo and former President Hoyte. This is required for Guyana to move to another stage of development. This election can only contribute to that process, however, if all Guyanese are committed to preserving a climate of peace during the elections.

I know GECOM Chairman Joe Singh has the unwavering support and trust of all Guyanese. His leadership has established a tone of fairness and impartiality that we hope will continue through the final days of the campaign this weekend, the casting of votes on Monday, and the tabulation of votes after the polls close.

As polling day approaches I hope all Guyanese political parties will observe the standards set forth in the Political Party Code of Conduct, and all media organizations will abide by the standards included in the Media Code of Conduct.


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