PPP intensifies pressure for Govt to resign, set elections date
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has intensified its efforts to get President David Granger to set a date for early elections – something which they will continue to do.
This is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday as he addressed hundreds of supporters while protesting the Ministry of the Presidency, which holds the official office of the President.
Tuesday’s protest was heightened as supporters blocked off Vlissengen Road in front of the Ministry of the Presidency, chanting for the President to dissolve Parliament and set a date for elections, as well as have his Cabinet resign as mandated by the Constitution.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on June 18 validated the December passage of the No-Confidence Motion against the coalition Government, thus triggering Articles 106 (6) and (7), which state that Cabinet including the President should resign and call elections with three months.
While elections ought to have been held by March 21, 2019, the court proceedings filed had put that timeline on pause. But since the Trinidad-based regional court validated the motion, the three-month timeline was activated from that date which means elections ought to be held on or before September 18, 2019.
However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo contended that the caretaker coalition is deliberately defying constitutional rule.
“It’s a dual game they’re playing. On one hand, [the President] wants to seem like the statesman – ‘I’m complying with the Constitution; I’m complying with the CCJ’ – but on the other hand, his people are seriously undermining our ability to move forward… And then GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission), you know the shenanigans that they have gone through with to delay the elections by claiming they have to go to House-to-House Registration to prepare a list which is nonsense and will result in elections way into next year, and that is what they want. So we have to keep putting the pressure on this Administration to comply with the Constitution,” the Opposition Leader told scores of protestors.
According to Jagdeo, he had outlined a path that would bring the country back into constitutional rule, hold early elections and eventually have the country move forward but the President has rejected this.
“That’s all we want; a country that obeys the laws, a country that protects all of its people and a Government that continue to work in favour of all the people of Guyana to create jobs, give them better welfare etc. And the faster we get those elections, the faster we will move to restore credibility to this country and to start solving people’s problems once again,” he noted.
Meanwhile, PPP’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, who led the protest, told supporters that the party is continuing to mount pressure on the coalition for the future of the country and all of its people.
“Let us not forget that we are doing this on behalf of every single Guyanese… Go back to history and you will see that the PPP has already stood up, stood up strong, stood up mighty, stood up peacefully, and what did we stand up for? We stand up for the rights of the people… and until this dictatorship is removed and until democracy is returned and until the respect for constitutional rule is returned, we will stand up every day and we fight,” Ali declared to loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
Even as the Opposition intensifies pressure on the coalition Government to set a date for early elections, GECOM is continuing with its House-to-House Registration which is now in its 26th day and has since recorded over 150,000 registrations.
However, the exercise has been contested in the High Court and Chief Justice Roxane George is expected to rule on its constitutionality today. Charted accountant and attorney Christopher Ram had filed proceedings, challenging the conduct of House-to-House Registration.
In the meantime, President Granger is expecting to hear from the GECOM Chair, (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh, in the coming days on the way forward.
The Head of State had met with Justice Singh and the six GECOM Commissioners as well as the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, last Thursday. The following day, he met with the Opposition Leader during which they shared their contesting views on the hosting of early elections.
PPP picket for early elections continues at Ministry of the Presidency
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) conducted yet another picketing exercise yesterday, near the Ministry of the Presidency.
The party is advocating for elections by September 18, 2019.
Present at the exercise were PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo; Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali; parliamentarians, Zulfikar Mustapha, Neend Kumar, Juan Edghill; several regional executives, and other members of the party.
The procession chanted, “We want elections now! Who must go? Granger!” as it marched down Vlissengen Road.
Jagdeo is adamant that with Ali at the helm of the campaign, the party will win the upcoming General and Regional Elections. The party staged several protests, recently, throughout the country.
“Call elections now! Granger must dissolve parliament now!”
The dissolution is Parliament is one of the several demands the Opposition has made to Government, following the consequential orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the No Confidence Cases.
President David Granger had indicated that his Government is taking the Opposition Leader’s demands seriously and with careful consideration.
Government does not appear to accede to the demand. Minister of Government, George Norton, said at a recent press conference of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – a body of the APNU+AFC Coalition – that Government is considering having a sitting of the legislative body. It just hasn’t decided on a date yet.
Several bills are slated to be laid in the National Assembly, and the Opposition has indicated that, should it win the election, Bills passed during the period are likely to be considered illegal.
The PPP has also demanded the resignation of the Cabinet, but Granger has refused.
The chant could be heard yesterday: “Caretaker government must respect the Constitution!”
The President had indicated that several restrictions would be placed on the operations of the “interim” Government, out of respect for the Constitution and the rulings of the Court.
The most pivotal decision at this juncture is in the hands of the Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, who is expected to rule today on a request made by Attorney-at-law Christopher Ram for a Conservatory Order, halting the House to House exercise, which started on July 20, 2019.
The Opposition contends that claims and objections would suffice to refresh the expired Official List of Electors (OLE), and that House-to-House would not allow for elections to be held by September 18, 2019.
Following the Court ruling today, the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, will hold a special meeting tomorrow to decide on the way forward.