Civil society groups join calls for President, Cabinet to resign

A section of the groups outside of the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday

…illegal Govt needs to respect the supreme law of Guyana — protestors

A handful of persons representing two civil society groups picketed the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday, calling for President David Granger to adhere to the constitutional provisions that mandate his Cabinet to resign and call elections in light of the passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM).

The picketing exercise was organised by the Mass Action Peoples Movement (MAPM) – the group which was formed to protest against the parking meters project – and the newly-formed Association for Democracy and Human Rights (ADHR).

A section of the groups outside of the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday

MAPM’s Don Singh contended that the Constitution of Guyana is being trampled upon by the coalition administration, which seems keen on not adhering to the law, and that the legal and right thing for the President and his Cabinet members to do now is resign.

“Whether you like it or not, it happened, article 106(6) and the consequences that follow thereafter are important, so we are saying resign Cabinet now. You (Government) accepted that you are interim or a caretaker government, well behave like that. We cannot have new projects, I saw Minister David Patterson talking about a bridge to Suriname the other day that is ludicrous, and you cannot be planning to spend tax payers’ money when your cabinet is illegal”.

Don Singh

Meanwhile, another member of MAPM, Johnathan Yearwood, is of the belief that the APNU/AFC coalition has lost all respect for Guyana’s Constitution.

“The Constitution clearly states in 106(6) that the Government, the President and the Cabinet shall resign. Not should, but shall resign. Then it goes on to say in 106(7) notwithstanding that resignation, they remain in government, but apparently the President and the Cabinet, all the learned members of the Cabinet, do not understand what the word notwithstanding means because they have already said publicly that they will not be resigning and that is against our Constitution”.

Yearwood stated that instead of allowing due process in accordance with Guyana’s laws through provisions in the Constitution to have an early election within a stipulated timeframe of three months, the Government of the day has chosen to disregard the laws that govern the country.

“The Constitution clearly states that they must resign, not if they want to, and they have said that they are not resigning. So, I am asking that our government show respect for the supreme law of our land which is the Constitution. If they don’t like the Constitution as it stands, well change it, but until it is changed, we must respect it, it makes no sense having a Constitution and then we don’t respect it”.

Meanwhile, Representative of the ADHR, Tracy Shamsudeen, expressed similar sentiments.

“They have been deemed to be illegal as of March 21, a No-Confidence Motion was passed on 21st of December, last year, and we are asking them (Government) to please respect our Constitution. We fight for the rights of the citizens of Guyana as you can see our name is Association for Democracy and Human Rights. So, we are fighting for the rights of citizens we are asking the Government to discontinue trampling on our rights and trying to disenfranchise persons from being able to vote in an election to elect a new government,” Shamsudeen added.

The Constitution says that following the passage of the NCM, the President and Cabinet must resign and elections held within three months of the passage of the motion. That deadline elapsed since March 21, 2019, with Government having spent much of this time in court seeking to overturn the motion, rather than ensuring elections were held.

However, the APNU/AFC Government has maintained that they are acting in accordance with the Constitution, despite the repeated public outcries for the administration to resign and call elections as early as possible.