Private Sector Group Calls for Election Date to be Announced

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Private Sector Commission of Guyana (PSC) Tuesday called on President David Granger to name a date for the regional and general elections as mandated by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in keeping with the provisions of the country’s constitution following a successfyl vote of no confidence against his administration last December.

In a statement to the regional and international media, the PSC said that it had preferred to wait and give the recently appointed Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, an opportunity to inform Granger of the commission’s ability to conduct elections here before making any “further comment on this matter”.

It said that having regard to the GECOM chair informing President Granger that “the Guyana Elections Commission will be able to deliver credible elections by the end of February 2020”, it was now informing him “that any further delay on the part of the President to name an election date will significantly exacerbate the already considerable harm that has been done to Guyana’s credibility”.

The PSC said that it had taken this position even while expressing its “deep concern that GECOM’s decision is in contravention of the Constitutional obligation of GECOM to have been ready to conduct elections no later than three months after the ruling of the CCJ on June 18 2019, resulting in the …coalition remaining in office by relying upon the disciplined services to exercise its authority”.

The CCJ, which is the country’s highest court, had in July said that the vote of no confidence which had been passed last December against Granger’s coalition administration was valid and urged all parties to adhere to the provisions of the country’s constitution.

Under the Guyana Constitution, the elections should take place 90 days after the vote of no confidence is passed. The Constitution also makes provision for an extension of the period based only on a two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament.

President Granger has said in the past that he would only announce a date for the elections after he has been given the go ahead by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that it is prepared to host the event.

The PSC said that it “cannot emphasize strongly enough that any further delay” could result in Guyana being viewed as “a country no longer committed to the rule of law and constitutional probity.

“The Private Sector believes it to be unfortunate that since the no-confidencemMotion was validly passed some nine months ago that the country has been subjected to a series of unwarranted delays from honouring the constitutional requirement to have held elections within three months of the motion being passed in the National Assembly.

“The Private Sector Commission urges the President to recognize that the condemnation of his government as being in “breach of the Constitution” by the international community, which includes Guyana’s major developmental partners, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and now the Commonwealth Secretary General, is of serious consequence for Guyana.”

The private sector group said that it was further urging President Granger to recognize the significant number of statements from a wide cross section of the society, including the Bar Association, the religious community, the Chamber of Commerce and AmCham, “expressing their deep concern of the unconstitutional status of the government.

“The PSC wishes to remind that the statement from the international community has, in fact, emphasized that Guyana’s economic development and the ability of those countries to support our development needs, is now dangerously compromised.

“The PSC must point out that the consequence of doing business under a government shorn of its Constitutional authority becomes virtually impossible due to the premiums placed on international equity and borrowings and the demands for compliance with procedures of international financial institutions. “

The PSC said that it was also disappointed at the “inaction and deafening silence of the Heads of Government and the Secretary General of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) for failing to recognize the serious challenge in Guyana to the principles of democratic governance embraced by all of the governments of the Caribbean community and to have not, by now, taken appropriate action.

“The PSC is equally concerned over the silence of the OAS (Organisation of American States) and it’s inaction to comply with article 20 of its own Charter,” the private sector group said. – CMC

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