Gov’t signals intention not to exploit ‘third term’ loophole

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[www.inewsguyana.com]The government will continue to embrace and support the two terms limited presidency and does not intend to exploit whatever loopholes that exist.

This is according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who told reporters that exploiting such loopholes is not a feature of Guyana.

Luncheon’s remarks were made following a column written by Former Speaker of the National Assembly and one time long standing member of the People’s Progressive Party, Ralph Ramkarran, which stated that there might be a flaw in the third term rule, giving former Presidents another term run for office, instead of two.

“I think it will be fair to say that the intent behind a term limited presidency embraced by this administration, does not allow us opportunities to exploit loopholes. It is definitely not a feature for us, maybe some other jurisdiction or some other government but the intent of term limited presidency that we agreed, we will continue to embrace,” Dr. Luncheon told reporters.

Recently, Opposition Leader David Granger had told reporters that he does not support Ramkarran’s interpretation of the presidential ‘third term’ rule embedded in the constitution.

Granger had said, “The APNU takes an English Language constitution; that is the word ‘re’ means ‘again’ and if a person cannot be re – elected then that means he cannot be re – elected AGAIN.

“Our position is that Mr. Jagdeo is not eligible to be re – elected. He is not eligible to be elected ‘AGAIN’.  We do not support any interpretation which allows Mr Bharrat to be elected ‘A GAIN’ as President of Guyana…Any president.”

When Former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s second presidential term was coming to an end, there was much speculation that he would run for another term in office, but the constitution did not allow it.

However, Ramkarran in his recent column wrote that although the Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) had recommended that: “A person shall hold the office of President for a maximum of two (2) terms and those terms shall be consecutive,” the word “consecutive” was not included in the constitution. Instead, the new constitutional provision states as follows: “A person elected as President after the year 2000 is eligible for re-election only once.”

Ramkarran explained that, “This provision in the Constitution does not use the word ‘consecutively’ and this has given rise to speculation that it allows a President to serve only one term or two consecutive terms and return after a lapse of one or more terms and seek election again.”

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