The U.S. hits Guyana with visa restrictions, calls for President Granger to ‘step aside’

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The Trump administration announced visa sanctions Wednesday on members of Guyana’s ruling government and called for President David Granger to “step aside” so the country could begin its transition four months after its disputed March 2 elections.

“The Granger government must respect the results of democratic elections and step aside,” U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said during a morning press briefing.

Pompeo said the U.S. would be placing “visa restrictions on individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana.”

Granger and his A Partnership for National Unity coalition have refused to accept the findings of a 33-day recount led by the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, that found the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) had won the vote.

Instead, the ruling government has called for the vote to be annulled, arguing there were irregularities and anomalies in the election. Guyana’s chief elections officer, Keith Lowenfield, made the same argument, and ruled out more than 100,000 votes in a June 23 report that he said were tainted by fraud and were invalid.

The matter went to court, and last week the Caribbean Court of Justice, the final court of appeal for Guyana, invalidated Lowenfield’s June 23 election report. Under its decision, the 33-day recount would stand, making the PPP/C the new governing party.

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