In the primary city of this country there is a main street named Albert Street, and another named Regent Street, and Church Street; and it looks a lot like Belize City in some parts.
But this is not Belize City, it is Georgetown Guyana.
The country is on the verge of profound changes that some observers say will cause it to become the wealthiest country south of the United States.
In the past few months since the March 2nd. election, Guyana is in a delicate balance of possible civil war or chaos or profound prosperity and peace.
Basic Country Facts
The nation of Guyana attained its independence from colonial British rule in 1966 and the capital ‘Georgetown’ is the headquarters of the CARICOM secretariat.
Guyana is (214,969 km² ) about 10 times the size of Belize (8,867 square miles, or 23,000 km²) and has a population of almost 780,000 people.
On March 2nd. 2020 the country had a general election, and a little over 451,000 ballots were cast’d . Some of which were from Guyanese-born people, living in the United States. The election on the ground inside the country had a high turnout rate of 70.3%; of registered voters who elected 65 candidates to their house of representatives, including the president.
The Presidential Candidates
The incumbent president David A. Granger leads the ‘A Partnership for National Unity’ (APNU+AFC) and the opposition party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is lead by Irfaan Ali.
The incumbent, David A Granger was first elected as Guyana’s president after a coalition of the APNU & AFC joined to form the current government which took office in May 2015.
The supporters of incumbent president David A Granger have loudly call for him to be sworn back in as president, but on March 6th. a high court blocked efforts to declare anyone as the president elect until the all matters are heard by the courts.
A Rumble in CARICOM
More than 2 months after the election there was still no declared winner and the rangeling and claims of fraud was all over regional news. The incumbent government of President David A Granger invited a team of observers from CARICOM member states, and on May 6th. a recount of the ballots began.
The statistics are a starting point for concern because most countries in the region have never had such a large number of ballots or votes, when compared by ratio with the population. In this election almost 451,000 ballots were counted; in a country with a population of 780,000, considering that the under voting age population is almost 290,000, including school age children and toddlers.
The high-level group from other CARICOM member states arrived in Georgetown Guyana on 1 May, and the recount exercise began on May 6th. and ended on June 9th.
The following report from the observer team was submitted to the secretary-general of CARICOM. – CARICOM Observer Report PDF –
One of Jamaica’s leading newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner reported that the Chairman of CARICOM (at that time) Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley may have been too quick to chastise the Granger government in Guyana.
The Caribbean Court of Justice
There has been heated accusations of fraud and claims of sophisticated voter and-or ballot tampering from both sides, which has culminated in legal action at the highest courts in Guyana, and finally leading to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
During the process of validating ballots, Guyana’s Chief Election Officer determined that over 100,000 votes were invalid. However, On Wednesday, July 15th. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) handed down a unanimous decision which does not agree with the methods used by the Chief Election Officer (CEO) to invalidate the ballots.
Latest Developments In Guyana’s Election Saga
The following is the latest news from the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper. (Friday July 17th.)
“ATTORNEY General Basil Williams, on Friday, argued that the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh is constitutionally bound to declare the Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change, David Granger, as the President Elect in accordance with the advice tendered by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield.
In his virtual appearance before Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire, Williams – the fourth named respondent in the Misenga Jones Case – told the High Court that though the Chief Elections Officer submitted his Elections Report in accordance with the Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, the Chair of the Elections Commission has rejected the report.
Such, he argued, is a constitutional breach. The report indicated that more votes were cast in favour of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), for which President David Granger is the Presidential Candidate. “The Chairman of the [Elections] Commission was obliged to then declare him [David Granger] as having been elected under the said Article 177 (2) (b); that has not happened, and so we have a constitutional crisis in that regard,” the Attorney General told Justice George-Wiltshire during a five hour marathon court hearing on Friday.
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THE OIL INDUSTRY
“A series of successful offshore discoveries by ExxonMobil – estimating eight billion barrels of recoverable resources – has catapulted Guyana to global prominence, promising to transform the tiny rainforest nation into a major oil economy.”
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Those were the words of a news article on April 13th. 2020 in the highly regarded oil analytic and research publication NE ENERGY.
in 2005 Guyana had a very modest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of only US$77-million dollars, which grew to US$247-million dollars in 2011. (Gov. of Guyana data).
Since the announcement of oil being found off the coast of Guyana in an area known as the Takutu and Guyana Basin in the Atlantic ocean, the annual FDI growth rate of 21% would now be estimated to be US$1.7-billion for the year 2019.
Both Rystad Energy and Exxon have published data indicating that Guyana’s oil reserves are approximately 8 billion barrels of crude oil, which will transform the country into a major oil producing state that will output 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) in late 2020 and 750,000 bpd by 2025, and an even further 1.3 million bpd by 2030.
Additionally, digitalCaribbean-dot-LIVE has verified published data that Guyana produced approximately 96,000 ounces of gold in 2019. The projection for 2020 is estimated to be the same or more production from its Aurora gold mining operations.
On May 4th. 2020 the stock price of Guyana Gold Fields Inc. traded at $0.70cents on The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). As of Friday July 17th. 2020 the stock has traded as high as $1.80.
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– OPINION –
The people of the CARICOM union should all pay close attention to what is happening in Guyana, afterall, the headquarters of CARICOM itself is in Georgetown, Guyana.
The continuous practice of democracy in our CARICOM union states is the most critical mechanism that makes small countries strong. – That they not be looked upon as uncouth relics of former Banana republics, but rather, well managed, democratic and sovereign states that punch well above their global weight.
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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter: digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.co