Guyana Politics: Granger and Jagdeo begin meetings on way forward

President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday met at State House to discuss the current political situation, and matters relating to the holding of General and Regional Elections.

 Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo meets President David Granger

The President on Thursday last had explained, after Government’s meeting with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), that Government’s efforts are aimed at keeping with the Consequential Order of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), that deliberations between the major stakeholders moving forward must assume a consensual overtone, and move away from unilateralism.     

President Granger was accompanied by Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, and Jagdeo was accompanied by the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali.
During the talks, the President maintained that GECOM has to advise him of its readiness before a date can be named for elections.

Reference was reportedly made to the Consequential Orders of the CCJ and their respective interpretations. Jagdeo stated his position and that of the PPP that elections should be held by September 18 – three months after the CCJ’s ruling.

The President said, “I made it clear that it is impossible if not impractical for me, even though in the final analysis I have to proclaim a date, I could not do so without the advice of the Elections Commission.”

“I will continue to abide by the Constitution and pay attention to the Chairman of the Elections Commission who will advise me,” the President said.

The President said he is hopeful that Chairman of the Elections Commission Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, would communicate the Commission’s position to him in a week’s time.

“We agreed that it is the Elections Commission which is central to this process; it is an electoral process; it is not a governmental process or parliamentary process. It is an electoral process which is entirely in the hands of the Elections Commission,” the President stated at the conclusion of the meeting.

Furthermore, the Head of State maintained that the Official List of Electors (OLE) has to be credible.
There has been much public disagreement between the two sides on what exercise should be implemented. House-to-House Registration is underway and over 150,000 persons have already been registered.

The Government contends that it is the only process, which would produce a credible list for the upcoming elections.

But the Opposition has strongly advocated for a period of claims and objections to refresh the list which expired on April 30 last. Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, has said that this is possible.

Jagdeo said yesterday that the two sides also spoke about the resignation of Cabinet. The Opposition would like to see Cabinet resign immediately, but Government has already indicated that it will not resign until it is time for the new Government to assume power after credible elections.

Jagdeo said that, with the way House-to-House is going, elections will be held in 2020, as he contends that House-to-House will not be concluded any time soon. He said that the Government will be an unconstitutional one after September 18, 2019.

Harmon said, “The President made it clear that he would like to see early elections and that he has provided all of the resources that the Elections Commission required for them to work…it would not be in our interest to super-impose any coercive measures on the Commission that they cannot meet.”

The President explained that there is a “zone of convergence” in that both sides have maintained their existing positions.

While there wasn’t agreement on any of the issues discussed, the President said that the meeting was beneficial.
“It helped to clarify issues which still exist within the two sides. There has been no agreement but greater clarity on the positions of the two sides,” President Granger said.

“We referred to our meeting with the Chairman of Elections Commission on Thursday and we feel that her request, to be given an opportunity to hear the judgment of the Supreme Court and meet with the members of the Commission, was a reasonable one.”

The Head of State said that Government will engage with her after the judgment.
Government and Opposition have agreed to meet again after both the Chief Justice’s ruling scheduled for August 14 and the meeting of the full Commission.

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Comments

  • Linda  On August 10, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Another wasted exercise. Jagdeo is sticking to his constitution argument as it serves his purpose of bypassing door to door registration with the hope of giving the PPP a win in the election. A clean, accurate voters list is the only way to really give the Constitution relevancy and elect a legal government for the country, whether it be the current one or the PPP. Jagdeo needs to stop being disruptive at every turn as it serves no good purpose for the country.

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