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The CARICOM Audit Team selected under the terms of the Herdmanston Accord to undertake an audit of the December 15 Guyana national elections is now fully engaged in the counting of ballots cast.

The Team, which is headed by former Trinidad and Tobago High Court Judge and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr. Ulric Cross, and includes:

Ms. Yvette Walcott
Mr. Denis Smith
Ms. Carol Jerome-Horsford
Mr. Justin Daniel
Mr. Dinanath Gajadhar
Mr. Noel Lee
Mr. Eustace Russell and
Mr. Frank Phillips,

has now been in Guyana for two weeks having arrived on Tuesday, 17 March – the day after the Electoral Audit (CARICOM Agreement) Act, providing for the Team’s establishment was passed in Parliament.

On the same day CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington and UNDP Resident Representative, Felipe Martinez, signed a UNDP agreement providing the resources to finance the Audit exercise. The negotiation of this Agreement was undertaken with the assistance of Mr. Hugh Cholmondeley, the CARICOM facilitator.

With the successful procurement of the finances for the Audit the responsibilities of Mr. Cholmondeley on behalf of CARICOM has come to an end. The Community acknowledges the vital role that Mr. Cholmondeley played in facilitating its contribution towards a solution to this problem and expresses its gratitude to him.

The Community remains concerned over the continued use of inflammatory language by some of the parties in the situation and notes with particular regret the claim by one political leader that the Secretary-General had engaged in deception regarding the role of Mr. Cholmondeley. This is incorrect. As Chairman, I was present at the discussion and I confirm the subsequent changes made to honour the undertaking given on that occasion. Given the selfless and invaluable contribution which both Mr. Cholmondeley and the Secretary-General have made in helping to fulfil CARICOM’s pledge to work with the Guyanese people to resolve the national and regional problem, such comments are not only incorrect and undeserving but unhelpful to the overall effort.

The Community reaffirms its commitment to the principles embodied in the Herdmanston Accord and appeals to all parties to respect the letter and spirit of that arrangement and await the outcome of the Audit currently being undertaken.

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