GECOM must be ready for elections within 90 days – Bar Council

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The Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association has called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to announce a date for national elections, reminding that the 90-days constitutional deadline is approaching.

“To date, fifty-four (54) days have elapsed since the passage of the motion and no date has been fixed for elections within the required constitutional period or otherwise,” the Council said in a statement last night.

According to the Bar Council, GECOM “is required to be in a state of readiness to conduct elections at any time within three months (90 days) of the passing of a ‘No Confidence Motion’ in the National Assembly”.

The Government was defeated on the evening of December 21, 2018 its very own parliamentarian, Charandass Persaud, crossed the floor and voted in favour of the Opposition’s No-Confidence Motion against the APNU/AFC coalition Administration.

GECOM Commissioners met yesterday to discuss its readiness for elections but the meeting concluded without any significant progress being made.

The Bar Council stated however that GECOM is required by the Constitution to take such action as appear necessary or expedient to ensure fairness, impartiality and compliance with the Constitution on the part of persons exercising powers or performing duties connected with or relating to the registration of electors or the conduct of elections.

It noted that neither the filing of appeals nor applications for orders staying the operation of the clear timelines fixed by the Constitution can stop the time from running within which elections must be held.

“Only a resolution of the National Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds of all of its elected members can extend the time for elections if it is necessary to do so,” the Council stated.

As such, the Bar Council is calling on all parties involved, including the President, the Leader of the Opposition and GECOM, to take such immediate steps as will avoid Guyana entering into a “constitutional crisis and prevent the dire effects such a crisis could have on the country”.

The Parliamentary Opposition has been putting pressure on GECOM to begin preparations so that elections can be held no later than March 19, 2019.

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