Jagdeo Says March 2020 Deadline for Election a No-go

Opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Tuesday, said his People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) would not support fresh regional and general elections being held in March 2020.

Jagdeo, speaking to reporters after holding talks with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said said the March 2020 timeline should not even be debated since he considers it “out of the window.”

“March is totally out of the window. We are looking for elections before the end of the year,” Jagdeo told reporters.

GECOM was meeting Tuesday to discuss a proposal that the election as mandated by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) be held in March next year.

One of the three government appointed GECOM Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, said that there’s nothing definitive about the proposal that had been presented last Friday by the GECOM Secretariat.

“We had a good meeting with the Commission. We started the meeting by saying we are not going to repeat how we got here because we know how we got here, the delaying tactics of the government,” Jagdeo told reporters.

“We spoke about the President (David Granger) using GECOM as an excuse for not holding elections and therefore it is their responsibility to comply with the Constitution,” Jagdeo said, adding that the party had also raised the issue of the merging of the data from the house to house registration of voters.

The PPP has already indicated that it does not believe that the merging will not improve the quality or ‘credibility’ of the database, but rather it will further contaminate the National Register of Registrants (NRRDB) and cause further delays in the holding of the elections.

Jagdeo said that based on the proposal his party has put forward “we believe that the election can be held long before the end of the year”.

He said the GECOM chairman had made “some encouraging words” regarding the PPP/C position, adding “encouraging words because it has an outside limit”

He reiterated that the “March timeline is clearly out of the window now, we don’t even need to debate that.

“That is out of the window. This March is totally out of the window, we are looking to elections before the end of the year,” Jagdeo said, telling reporters he was feeling “much better” than before he went into the meeting.

The CCJ, which is the country’s highest court in July ruled that the vote of no confidence passed last December against the David Granger government was valid, but it could not insist on the polls being held on any specific date for the election and instead urged all stakeholders to work within the Guyana Constitution to ensure the polls are held.

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 GECOM that it is prepared to host the event. – CMC