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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06GEORGETOWN344 2006-04-18 14:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Georgetown
Cable title:  

OAS OBSERVERS FOR GUYANA, CONCERN OVER ELECTION

Tags:   PGOV KDEM OAS XL GY 
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DE RUEHGE #0344/01 1081416
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 181416Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3373
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0282
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0111
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 2138
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0040
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 000344 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHA/CAR
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2016
TAGS: PGOV KDEM OAS XL GY
SUBJECT: OAS OBSERVERS FOR GUYANA, CONCERN OVER ELECTION
DELAY

REF: A. GEORGETOWN 308


B. GEORGETOWN 181

C. GEORGETOWN 167

Classified By: Ambassador Roland W. Bullen
For reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (U) SUMMARY. OAS A/SYG Ramdin led a three-person OAS
mission to Guyana April 6-11 that paves the way for an OAS
Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) with a broader role of
ensuring that Guyana has elections. His visit coincided with
the Guyana Elections Commission's (GECOM) capitulation that
it cannot deliver elections by the August 4 constitutional
due date, primarily the result of the political impasse
between the ruling and opposition party Commissioners.
Ramdin wants to address this impasse by facilitating the
high-level political dialogue lacking in Guyana. The
long-term component of OAS' EOM should begin by end of April.
Ramdin is eager to get this technical mission started, but
insufficient funding commitments are still a sticking point.
END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


Ramdin Makes the Rounds


--------------------------





2. (U) OAS A/SYG Albert Ramdin visited Guyana April 8-11,
preceded by Steve Griner of the Promotion of Democracy
Department and advisor Sherry Tross. Ramdin met privately
with Ambassador and twice more with donors to hear their
perspective and share his view on OAS' strategy for Guyana.
Ramdin also met with several stakeholders, including
President Jagdeo, GECOM Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally, and
political parties - with the notable exception of the main
opposition PNC/R, whose leader was out of the country and
whose deputies could not find a mutually convenient time to
meet.



--------------------------


No Elections by August 4


--------------------------





3. (U) Surujbally told Ramdin during their meeting that GECOM
could no longer meet the August 4 constitutional deadline for
elections. Ramdin referred to this inevitable delay in his
April 10 conference. This was the first official
pronouncement, albeit indirect, that GECOM could not hold
elections within the constitutional timeframe - thus saving
Surujbally and GECOM the blushes of having to break the news
to the public themselves. (Note: The disarray in which this
leaves the election process to be reported septel.)



--------------------------


"Problems are political, not technical"


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Ramdin left Guyana more convinced than ever, as is
post and other donors, that the obstacles to Guyana's
electoral process are political rather than technical. As
such, OAS will continue to press for elections as soon as
possible. Ramdin's prescription to break the deadlock is for
the political parties to reengage in meaningful dialogue.
Ramdin proposed privately the establishment of an
"inter-political party forum" to foster this dialogue,
emphasizing, however, that OAS' role is just to "facilitate"
and not to "mediate".



5. (C) Unfortunately, this "forum" idea is a watered down
version of the "political pact" concept that Ramdin had
initially floated during his February visit (ref C), and
which post felt was a long shot but at least the best chance
of convincing the PNC/R to stop stonewalling elections.
Ramdin felt it was too ambitious to expect the parties to
come together right off the bat and agree to a political pact
on reforms - instead, he now favors a staged approach of
dialogue on the electoral process followed by an agreement on
post-election reforms.



6. (C) Of further concern, the PPP/C party leaders rejected
the idea of initiating this dialogue when meeting Ramdin, who
feels the PPP/C is not concerned with the current political

situation and in fact sees engagement as a sign of
vulnerability. Ramdin reported that he pointedly told Jagdeo
how troublesome is his party's apparent indifference to
political dialogue, especially given the GoG's heavy
dependence on foreign aid. Jagdeo responded that he had
invited opposition leader Robert Corbin to meet on election
issues and expected to do so within two weeks (not fast
enough, donors believe). Donors agreed to take on the task
of encouraging the parties, particularly the PPP/C, to pursue
political dialogue.



--------------------------


OAS Long-term Observers on the Way


--------------------------





7. (U) Ramdin said that a two-person, long-term observation
team is slated to arrive in Guyana by month end. Steve
Griner - who observed the 1992 Guyanese elections with the
Carter Center - is likely to lead this team.



--------------------------


Stumping for Greater CARICOM Involvement


--------------------------





8. (C) Since his last visit (ref C), Ramdin met with St.
Lucia PM Kenny Anthony, as current chair of CARICOM's Justice
and Governance portfolio, and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)
FonMin Knowlson Gift, as T&T is current CARICOM Heads of
Government chair, to confer on Guyanese elections. PM
Anthony may visit Guyana in early May and FonMin Gift in late
April, ostensibly for bilateral reasons or to visit CARICOM's
new headquarters, but actually to assess the political
situation on the ground.



9. (C) Ramdin remains adamant about greater CARICOM
involvement in a Guyana electoral mission, but CARICOM simply
is not ready yet. He is still eager to identify a high-level
individual from the region who can collaborate with OAS in
Guyana. Outgoing Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson had
been mentioned for this role, but that looks unlikely after
both Anthony and Gift reacted lukewarmly to this suggestion.



--------------------------


Ramdin, Insulza Want Company on Future Visits


--------------------------





10. (U) Ramdin said that he and OAS SYG Insulza intend to
maintain momentum in Guyana through visits "several times
over the next few months". Ramdin expressed his desire to
have high-level companions on future visits to demonstrate
OAS as an institution. Ramdin specifically mentioned
Ambassador Maisto and DAS Duddy, as well Tim Dunn, his
Canadian counterpart, and Brazil's representative.



--------------------------


OAS Still Has Cap in Hand


--------------------------





11. (U) Throughout his visit, Ramdin stressed the need for
further monetary and in-kind contributions so that OAS can
embark on this critical EOM without the risk of having to
pull the plug before its completion. Ambassador suggested to
Ramdin that OAS also approach T&T for funding, as they can
afford to assist and also have a vested interest in Guyana's
stability.



--------------------------


OAS' Next Steps


--------------------------





12. (U) Besides reporting to the OAS Permanent Council April
12, Ramdin intends to issue a statement stressing the need
for dialogue between Guyana's political parties and to
arrange high-level calls from SYG Insulza, and hopefully
others, to Jagdeo and Corbin reinforcing the same message.
On the other hand, Ramdin is wary of putting too much
pressure on the political leaders - his preference is for
OAS' EOM to take a "balanced, technical approach".



--------------------------


Comment



--------------------------





13. (U) Post remains enthusiastic about Ramdin's
understanding of Guyana's political landscape and his strong
commitment to taking preemptive measures before unrest
escalates. Post and other donors will warmly welcome the
imminent EOM. OAS' plan compares very favorably to that of
the Commonwealth Secretariat, which went radio silent for
months after promising greater involvement. However, OAS'
plan does not convincingly chart a course to solve the
political calculus now facing Guyana - the PNC/R must receive
some tangible concession in exchange for backing down from
its intransigent demand for full house-to-house verification
of the voters list (refs A and B). End comment.
BULLEN