The Inter Religious Organization (IRO) of Guyana and the Guyana Council of Churches, in an “uncommon” joint statement issued July 23, say they have noted with “grave concern” the deteriorating political climate in Guyana in the aftermath of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
They are now calling for morality and good governance to prevail.
The IRO is a non-governmental umbrella organisation for Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Bahá’í organisations. The Guyana Council of Churches is the major grouping of the main Christian churches in the country.
Both organisations promote and support peace and harmony among the country’s religious groups and Guyanese through various initiatives and activities.
The statement referenced that the two main political parties –A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change (AFC), and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)–both hold firmly to the view that they have won the elections.
“We are also aware of the negative international attention that Guyana has attracted, and has been subjected to during this process,” the statement said, according to a Catholic Standard article.
The statement also condemned the character defamation and the actions of racial segregation that have been ongoing, and appeal for peace, reconciliation, trust, and stability within the country.
It stated it is imperative that as Guyanese, regardless of their political persuasions, Guyana’s interests be “paramount in all regards”.
The religious groups emphatically said that all contesting parties and Guyanese citizens must respect the Rule of Law. This, they said is to include respecting and abiding by the decisions of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the respective Courts.
Every Guyanese has the freedom to associate with and/or belong to a political party and as such, “this right should be appreciated by everyone”.
The joint statement also mentioned that in the pursuit of resolution of this political impasse, the principles of international norms, Guyana’s international commitments, international solidarity with those commitments and of democracy be respected and the Constitution of Guyana—the supreme authority of Guyana—should be respected “in all regards”.
“Further, the decisions made by the relevant Courts on the final interpretation of any constitutional queries must be respected as well.”
The statement went on, “The present political turmoil provides our country with a golden opportunity to dramatically reorder our governance structures for the national good, and we pray that our politicians will seize this Kairos moment.”
If this situation is not properly and correctly rectified, it will continue to be a “cancer in the bones” of the nation, gnawing away at national life and progress as a nation.
As a consequence, the group suggests that it may be timely to explore constitutional and other reform initiatives that promote and accelerate unity, inclusivity, objectivity, tolerance, and development.
The statement concluded, “As a religious community, we encourage a swift conclusion to the electoral process. This will allow us all, as Guyanese, the opportunity to focus on both the immediate threat of COVID-19 and the development needs of Guyana.”
UPDATE: On Sunday, August 2 the political impasse ended with the swearing in of new president, Dr Irfaan Ali.