Opposition Leader says willing to meet President anytime, and daily to chart way forward

File photo: President David Granger and Opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo during a previous engagement
File photo: President David Granger and Opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo during a previous engagement

In wake of the landmark decisions by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which declared that the Government was toppled by a No-Confidence Motion, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated his availability to meet the President any time to appoint a new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman and discuss the way forward.

This was indicated in a letter from People’s Progressive Party Executive Member and former Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, to Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

Harmon had previously written to Jagdeo, on President David Granger’s behalf, inviting him to meet the President whenever convenient after consequential orders were issued on Monday by the CCJ. But the CCJ did not issue those orders when it met and the invitation was left open.

In the letter, Teixeira writes, “l wish on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Bharrat Jagdeo, MP, to inform you that Mr Jagdeo is prepared to meet with the President at any time, and, on a daily basis if needs be, to address the appointment of a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission consistent with the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice on June 18, 2019.”

Teixeira went on to request that Harmon bring the parliamentary Opposition’s letter to the President’s attention as soon as possible and to suggest that Harmon contact her in order to coordinate the meetings between the President and the Opposition Leader.

The unilaterally-appointed GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson has since stepped down from his position, after the CCJ found that his appointment was unconstitutional and derived from a flawed process. With the Opposition pushing for elections this year in keeping with the Guyana Constitution, it means the position must urgently be filled.

At the CCJ’s post-judgment hearing on Monday, requests were made by lawyers for the President to be given seven days to appoint a new chairman. Opposition Leader Jagdeo has already said he could provide a list of candidates to the President to choose a Chairman from.

The Court had subsequently decided to give the two sides until July 1 to make written submissions on the consequential orders they would like to be handed down. It also decided that consequential orders will be issued on or before July 12, before which the CCJ urged President Granger to meet with Jagdeo, with their lawyers if necessary.