The main consequences of remaining unlawfully in office after March 19, by which time elections are due, is that the coalition Government will lose international credibility and support, much as the then Government did in 2015 after it prorogued the National Assembly.
This is according to former Speaker of the National Assembly and commentator Ralph Ramkarran, who detailed certain consequences that the country could face if Government and the Opposition did not meet and agree on a plan to address this long and ongoing situation.
He said while Governments may want to remain in communication because they would hold de facto power, official bilateral activity may cease. The former House Speaker said too that visas might be withdrawn. “Overseas assets could be frozen. Economic or other sanctions may be imposed. If measures are imposed, they could be implemented selectively and one at a time, or altogether,” he added.
Ramkarran also believes that the attitude of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will also be under a high degree of scrutiny. He said that public opinion in the Region is already taking shape against the Government.
As an initial step, Caricom may well decide that from March 20 when the Government becomes illegal, it will not be invited to any meetings of Caricom or of its bodies and agencies, or Heads of Government meetings. He said it might feel that an illegal Government could not represent the people of Guyana.
He believes that even if it did, anything that the National Assembly may enact would be unlawful.
Therefore, Ramkarran said the best strategy was for both Guyanese leaders to settle their own problems. He is suggesting that President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo meet and agree to a compromise date for elections.
“As a first step, the life of the Government can be extended to March 31 or thereabouts, by which time the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would be expected to rule.”
If the Chief Justice’s decision was upheld, then Ramkarran believes that an election date should be fixed for July. But if the Government succeeds, it carries on to the end of its term.
Another suggestion is if the Government could not be persuaded to act reasonably, as indicated above, the former House Speaker and Attorney is recommending that the Carter Center should intervene to mediate a solution with support from the US State Department.