OPINION: Eyewitness: The buck stops with…

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…the President on elections

It’s so pathetic that the Caretaker President of this country David Granger, would hide (now literally) under the skirts of GECOM to evade his constitutional duty to announce a date for elections. Does he even remember the oath he took on his Bible when he was sworn in as President? No matter how much he bobs and weaves he cannot get away from the clear declaration of the Constitution of this country.

There, Art 61 – explicitly labelled “Time for elections” – declares: “An election of members of the National Assembly under article 60 (2) shall be held on such a day within three months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President shall appoint by Proclamation.” Since even the pellucid statements of Art 106 – which the CCJ felt didn’t need a “gloss” or explanation – have been mangled by Caretaker Granger, your Eyewitness will give the “gloss” on Art 61.

To wit, for elections to be held in Guyana, THE PRESIDENT must first dissolve parliament and then set a date for the elections that’s within 3 months from the date of dissolution! Kapeesh?? Since Guyana doesn’t have a fixed-term Presidency or government – the President can call elections at any time – but he must still fulfil the conditions of Art 61!!

In this case, since the CCJ ruled that Art 106 kicked in after the successful passage of the NCM, by its unambiguous explication, elections must be held by Sept 18. And when the CCJ said they expected the President to “do the right thing”, as a “big man”, they expected him to immediately dissolve Parliament and pick a date either before or on Sept 18!! But Caretaker Granger is playing the fool and has claimed the responsibility for setting the elections date is GECOM’s!

Now what does the Constitution say about GECOM and elections?? In Art 162 (1) (Functions of the Elections Commission): it says, “..the Commission (a) shall exercise general direction and supervision…over the administrative conduct of all elections of members of the National Assembly”. Nothing about SETTING a date for elections!!

Election dates come up in Art 162 (2) which declares “if the Elections Commission is satisfied that the holding on an election…ON THE DAY APPOINTED therefor would be attended…by danger or serious hardship, it may, after consultation with the PM and OL…“postpose the holding of the election…”

The bottom line is, THE PRESIDENT MUST ANNOUNCE THE DATE OF THE ELECTION and GECOM can alter this if it can show “danger or serious hardship” because of the day announced.

But the GECOM CEO has already declared that Sept 18 can be met with claims and objections!! Elections Sept 18!!

…the Natural Resource Minister Trotman

Several activists – and one media house in particular – have been going after Exxon for the extremely skewed terms he renegotiated with the three-company consortium, or exploiting the Stabroek Block. But since when did the golden rule concerning business entities – “Caveat Emptor!” or “Buyer’s Beware!” – been changed?? Did we expect Exxon not to secure as much profits possible for its shareholders as is explicitly stated in the company laws of all jurisdictions – including Guyana’s?

What about the responsibility of Raphael Trotman, who was tasked with representing our interests, for getting us better terms?? Your Eyewitness has made this point before, but for some reason, none of the above-mentioned “activists” want to pick it up. They’ve been quoting the “better oil contract terms” from all sorts of jurisdictions – especially in Africa.

But have they not seen that in those same locales, whenever some anomalous term was snucked into an oil contract, it was invariably correlated with the negotiating official’s bank account becoming massively fattened?

Why hasn’t SARA’s spotlight been turned on Trotman’s assets?

…with govt on local content

FPSO Lisa Destiny’s on its way but Finance Minister Jordan’s brushing away concerns about “local content” legislation – to ensure Guyanese benefit from the oil – still isn’t enacted.

They want to give us handouts to control us!!