Elections Commission is Being Influenced by Gov’t: Jagdeo Says

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Bharrat Jagdeo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Leader of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharat Jagdeo believes the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is being influenced by the government not to start preparing for a general election.

During a press briefing this week, the opposition leader said GECOM could be involved in a delaying tactic as the commission is yet to issue a formal statement about its preparedness for an early general election.

Representatives of President David Granger and the Opposition Leader are scheduled to meet with the Elections Commission to get information on its readiness, however the chairman of GECOM remains on medical leave.

“We believe that what is taking place now in GECOM is that the Government is heavily influencing GECOM not to start the preparations for elections in 90 days. I have notified the international community to this possibility.”

Jagdeo said the Chief Elections Officer has indicated that he would have to await a statutory meeting before the meeting with the two representatives from the Government and Opposition could take place.

“So we have a huge hurdle now and we have to at some point decide whether we want to support this charade or withdraw from it totally, because somehow the Government is using all of these things…to further delay the elections and the readiness of GECOM. We are very concerned about that issue”.

The Opposition Leader also stressed that there was no agreement at the meeting between himself and the President on how the arms of the state should continue to function. He said the President must be in “la la land”, by thinking there was such an agreement.

Jagdeo – a former president, said he is still holding the government to the 90-day deadline for elections, although there is a challenge before the Court. He said preparations should be underway in spite of the Court cases and the Government needs to know that it is “in caretaker” mode.

The Government has said there is no provision in the Constitution for any caretaker government and the current administration will remain until the next government is in place.

The talks are being held at the Ministry of the Presidency and follows the decision of former government back bencher, Charrandass Persaud, who sided with the motion by Jagdeo, to give the People Progressive Party (PPP) a 33-32 victory in the 65-member National Assembly.

The PPP has since called on the government to name the date for fresh general elections which it says must be held before March this year.

Last month, Jagdeo successfully tabled the motion of no confidence in the government after accusing it of being “incompetent and corrupt”.

The motion received the backing of government back bencher Charandass Persaud and securing the 33 votes required to pass the motion in the 65-seat National Assembly after several hours of debate.

The coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) won the 2015 general election by a slender one-seat majority and despite repeated urges by fellow parliamentarians to change his vote, Persaud declined.

Jagdeo said the government has been a total failure and has not been keeping its promises to the Guyanese people who voted them into office. – CMC

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