– “It would be inviting lawlessness if the president were to fix a date for elections”
– GECOM established under the constitution, has general control and supervision of elections
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, March 6, 2019
“Guyanese should be satisfied that their national leaders are sitting around the table and are discussing the more important issues that would affect all of our lives.”
This was expressed by Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, on Wednesday, during a Facebook Live following the bilateral engagement between President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Prime Minister said the fact that a second “high-level” meeting took place in less than a month shows that all the issues on the table are being dealt with in a “purposeful way”. He explained that these matters stemmed from the December 21, 2018 vote in the National Assembly and GECOM’s readiness to host credible General and Regional Elections.
As was published in various sections of the media, the leader of the opposition insisted that a moot point of Wednesday’s discussion be focused on a date for the hosting of General and Regional Elections; however, President Granger’s position of not interfering with the election’s commission’s process was made clear.
GECOM was established under the constitution and has, as its power, the general control and supervision of elections. As such, it would be unconstitutional for the president to interfere or dictate GECOM’s proceedings.
“It would be inviting lawlessness if the president were to fix a date for elections,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo remarked.
He emphasised that the government’s position to engage GECOM on its readiness to host credible elections was made clear to the opposition by the Head of State.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo further highlighted that President Granger “has already set in train, the mechanisms” to engage with the agency’s commissioners.
The first bilateral engagement was held on January 9, 2019, where the government met with the opposition to discuss the way forward following the December 21 vote and what is stipulated according to the constitution. The Head of State led a delegation that included Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC., Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, and Government Chief Whip and Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally.
The group led by the opposition leader comprised Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, and Members of Parliament, Anil Nandlall, Irfaan Ali, Bishop Juan Edghill, Dr. Frank Anthony, Pauline Sukhai and Odinga Lumumba.