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…warns against changing of rules to suit some countries
Guyana has urged the Organnisation of American States (OAS) to at all times pursue consensus-building, especially on the pressing issues that continue to confront the hemisphere. It also called on the grouping to set aside the notion that there are separate rules and another set for others, and recognise that whatever the prevailing circumstances, now and in the future, “this body must be ever mindful that the Charter must be applied equally across the board.”
This charge was delivered by Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd when he addressed the OAS assembly.
Saying that the OAS remains the principal forum for political dialogue in this hemisphere, Todd said Guyana continues to value multilateralism and the role played by the body. “We remain committed to ensuring that the four pillars of the OAS- democracy and good governance; the promotion and protection of human rights; the pursuit of integral, sustainable and equitable development; the multidimensional security needs of countries- are addressed and bear equal treatment, if we are to confront the challenges of the present and future.”
Meanwhile, Todd told the assembly that Guyana, like many other countries of the hemisphere, is committed to upholding the principles of democracy and the rule of law. To this end he extended on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana, to Secretary-General Luis Almagro and officials of the General Secretariat, in particular the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation, as well as the member states of the Organisation, sincere gratitude for the support provided during our recent electoral crisis. “We especially wish to express our appreciation for the role played by the Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Bruce Golding and the members of the Mission, for their unwavering dedication throughout the protracted process,” Todd said.
He said it should come as no surprise to anyone that Guyana is very concerned about the increasing challenges to democracy in the hemisphere and around the world, many of these exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence of the pandemic, more than 67 countries and territories have had elections postponed and more than 80 countries have declared a state of emergency, with a consequent deterioration in the quality of democracy and respect for human rights in most of those countries. “On the other hand, during this period, 11 countries have become democracies. I therefore posit that, with collective vigilance and mutual support, and with the right amount of political will and citizen participation, democracy can prevail. We must therefore monitor ourselves daily for any regression from upholding the principles of democracy and human rights and we must be careful, moreover, not to allow the fragilities and vulnerabilities of our countries, particularly of small developing countries, be completely undermined by this pandemic.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister said Guyana, like so many other countries, has refocused its priorities to deal with the health crisis affecting our people and the dire economic impact on our people’s livelihoods. None of us is in a position to conduct business as usual. If the popular phrase, “We’re all in this together” is to have any real meaning, then we must all come together, large and small, industrialized or developing economies, to pursue a collective solution to one of the greatest existential threats of the 21st
Todd says Guyana sees the OAS as strategically positioned in Washington, DC, right next to the world’s leading International Financial Institutions and the Inter-American Development Bank, “and we therefore urge the OAS not just to carry on with its relatively small development programmes and valuable scholarship opportunities, but also to do its utmost to address the problem that we face as small developing countries.”
Over 100 persons have died from the virus in Guyana with the number of confirmed cases close to 4000.