PM Gonsalves stripped of 2005 ‘Democracy Prize’
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves has been given until the end of August to return the ‘Democracy Prize’ he was awarded by the New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) in 2005.
The CGID revoked the award on July 27 during a Town Hall meeting of the Institute, which a release said had an online viewership of over 55,000 and 120 members and supporters in attendance.
According to the release, the Board of Directors and general membership of the CGID voted unanimously to revoke the prize from Gonsalves who is also the current chairman of CARICOM.
Gonsalves was awarded the Prize at a ceremony in 2005 at which then Leader of the British House of Lords, Baroness Valerie Amos was keynote speaker.
“The move is yet another fall out from Gonsalves’ controversial role in the Guyana elections. Gonsalves has backed Guyana’s opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which claimed it won the March 2, 2020 for which there are no declared results. The declaration process has been hamstrung by multiple court challenges. The Guyana Court of Appeal is expected to rule on the matter Thursday,” the release from the CGID said.
According to the release, Gonsalves has angered Guyanese by claiming that the incumbent APNU+AFC lost the elections and that Granger should “take his licks like a man,” and give up power.
CGID President, Rickford Burke, slammed Gonsalves’ comments as undignified and unbecoming a head of government. He accused Gonsalves of “regurgitating PPP propaganda”.
The motion to revoke the Democracy Prize accused Gonsalves of violating the standards of democracy as required by the Charter of the Prize to which he was obligated. “Recipients of the prize must continuously promote and/or practice accepted standards of democracy as outlined in the Protocol of the Prize,” the release said.
The motion stated that Gonsalves violated the principles of democracy and the terms of the Prize by Interfering in the elections in Guyana in an egregious and partisan manner to help one side rather than act as an intermediary to help bring about an amicable and just solution. It contended that in an editorial published in “The Daily Observer,” in Antigua and other media outlets in St Vincent, Guyana and around the Caribbean, titled “A personal Editorial,” Gonsalves “fanned the flames of racism; using inciting and incendiary language.”
“Prime Minister Gonsalves cannot carry forward and represent the ideals of democracy for which the Democracy Prize was established and awarded. His conduct is the complete antithesis of the standards of the Prize,” the release said.
Consequently it was moved that “BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of directors of CGID revoke and strip Prime Minister Gonsalves of the Democracy Prize. The motion was passed no objection.
The Board mandated CGID President, Rickford Burke, to communicate its decision to Prime Minister Gonsalves and to request that the Prize be returned by the end of August.
Despite the position of the CGID, Gonsalves is but one of several regional and international leaders and organizations who have called upon the David Granger-led APNU+AFC to concede and allow Dr Irfaan Ali of the PPP to be sworn in as President. Included among the organizations calling on Granger to step down are the OAS, The Commonwealth, CARICOM. The United States earlier this month revoked the visas of several senior members of the APNU+AFC government over growing international intolerance that the Coalition refuses to concede to the PPP.