GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday February 27, 2019 – President David Granger has written to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo for separate consultations to be held on the issue of general and regional elections, as the constitutionally required deadline for holding the polls approaches.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the President’s planned meetings come as a result of a letter he received from Chairman of GECOM, retired Justice James Patterson who related the outcome of a commission vote last week, that the elections body could not organize credible elections within three months’ time and that it would require an appropriation of funds from the National Assembly.
“The President, having received that letter, responded to the Chairman of the GECOM indicating to the Commission that he noted the concerns, which were raised in the letter and he has asked that the Commission stands ready to commence a consultation with him on the operational readiness of the Elections Commission to deliver a credible election,” Harmon reported.
“He noted, of course, their concerns that there was not enough or any appropriation made in the 2019 Budget for anything other than house to house registration and that the Elections Commission was going to proceed with their programme of house to house registration.”
Following his People’s Progressive Party’s successful no confidence motion against the government on December 21 2018 in the National Assembly, Jagdeo has been demanding that elections be held by March 19, as outlined by the Constitution which states that elections should be held within 90 days of a government losing such a motion.
Harmon said that based on the issues raised in Patterson’s letter, President Granger, who left the country yesterday for Cuba where he is continuing medical treatment for cancer, has asked to meet with the Opposition Leader.
“He, in fact, instructed me to write the Leader of the Opposition, which I did [yesterday], and I pointed out that the President was inviting [him] to a consultation on the March 6, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Ministry of the Presidency,” the Minister of State said.
On the agenda for that meeting are the National Assembly’s constitutional role in the present situation and GECOM’s readiness and requirement for funding to enable it to conduct elections.