Extension of Constitutional deadline would affect PPP’s ability to recover “stolen” resources – Jagdeo

There will be no extension of the Constitutional deadline for the holding of General and Regional Elections,

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

President David Granger

because it will impair the ability of a potential People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government to recover what the party considers stolen assets. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, at his weekly press conference yesterday, asserted that President David Granger’s request for the Opposition to support the extension is political blackmail.     

Since the Constitutional deadline of March 21, 2019 passed, the Government, per the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the No Confidence Motion, was supposed to restrict its activities out of respect for the Motion.

But the Order that termed Government a ‘Caretaker’ was only dispatched later, in July last. While the CCJ stated definitively that the Government is in that capacity, the Opposition Leader had warned the Government months earlier to restrict its activities. He had warned Government, several times, that if the PPP wins the upcoming election, it will ensure it institutes civil procedures to recover assets and funds that were utilised after the deadline.

Even during a recent Post-Cabinet press briefing last week, Director General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, listed several contracts that were awarded by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), and noted by Cabinet.

Those contracts, according to the Department of Public Information (DPI), amount to $729M. Harmon said that the projects are part of a larger set of rehabilitation projects planned by Government, and awarded for the respective regions. DPI has also provided that other roadwork for those regions, approved by Cabinet for 2019, amount in excess of $1.2B.

Jagdeo addressed the companies, which were awarded the contracts Harmon listed, stating that none of those contracts are valid.
The Opposition Leader has also said that a PPP Government would seek to recover funds spent to execute Ministerial outreaches. He claimed that about $2B of public funds has already been used this year for that purpose.

And because the President has requested an extension of the Constitutional deadline, Jagdeo has said that he (Granger) is attempting to seek legal cover for what could be illegal acts of his Government.

Jagdeo stated that the President’s justifications for his request of an extension involve several fallacies.

The President had stated that the extension of a period beyond three months of the Constitutional deadline as provided for in the nation’s Supreme Law, is related to the readiness of GECOM. Hence, he has declared that the Government must return to the National Assembly, “as a consequence”, to request an extension of that deadline.

To this, Jagdeo said “There is no link to the extension of the life of his Government, which has been illegal since March 21, [2019]… and the preparation of GECOM for elections.”

Jagdeo also contends that extension is wholly unnecessary for the President to discharge his “caretaker responsibility” to proclaim a date for elections and whatever else is necessary to facilitate the holding of elections.
The National Assembly reconvenes on October 10, 2019.

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Comments

  • Trevor  On 10/01/2019 at 8:05 pm

    “Bharat Jagdeo” and ” recover stolen assets” is an oxymoron!

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