Adequate funds at GECOM’s disposal to hold elections – Commissioners

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Government Commissioners Desmond Trotman, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin

It seems the Government really has little excuse for not dissolving Parliament as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) itself has confirmed that it has enough funds for the holding of General and Regional Elections next year.

This was related by Commissioners from both the Government and the Opposition side on Tuesday and comes following claims by the Government that it has not dissolved Parliament yet, just in case GECOM needs additional funds.

Following the conclusion of the weekly statutory meeting, Opposition-nominated GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj was asked whether the Secretariat had enough funds for the holding of elections scheduled for March 2, 2020.

“As far as I am aware, yes. GECOM has G$8 billion at its disposal,” Gunraj said, though he could not say whether all the money has been released to them. Government-nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander also echoed his colleague, noting that the monies allocated for GECOM are enough to ensure it conducts elections.

In September, President David Granger announced March 2, 2020, as the date for the hosting of the constitutionally-mandated General and Regional Elections; however, with time creeping up, he is yet to issue a proclamation to dissolve Parliament.

If elections are to be held on March 2, 2020, as announced, then President Granger would have had to dissolve Parliament by December 3, 2019. This is in keeping with Article 61 of the Constitution, which states that election of members of the National Assembly should be done within three months after every dissolution of Parliament.

It has been almost one year after the successful passage of a motion of no-confidence against the A Partnership for National Unity /Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition government and the constitutionally-mandated General and Regional Elections are yet to be held.

This is despite the Constitution clearly outlining that elections were supposed to be held no later than 90 days after the motion was passed.

On Thursday last, Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, when asked about the dissolution of Parliament, said that would solely depend on the needs of GECOM.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) will resume protest action if President David Granger does not dissolve Parliament come this month.