PPP Commissioner decries “delaying tactics” by GECOM

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People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Commissioner on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Sase Gunraj, on Saturday revealed that promised work plans on preparations for polls are yet to be delivered to the Commissioners.

Following last Tuesday’s meeting at GECOM, the Secretariat agreed to provide members of the Commission with several work plans detailing the various options and the timelines regarding the holding of General and Regional Elections.

PPP Commissioner, Sase Gunraj

“No excuse, or attempt at an excuse, has been forthcoming for this refusal and or neglect to provide these work plans,  which should have been ready or in any event, easily prepared, from the Secretariat,” he said.

These plans were to be submitted on Friday and were to be discussed by members of the Operations Committee at a meeting scheduled for this Monday. However, Gunraj said on Saturday that no such documents have been received nor was any excuse forthcoming from the Secretariat. According to the Opposition Commissioner, this is just another tactic that is being employed to delay the commencement of preparations for holding elections in the constitutionally mandated timeline.

“I have had cause to comment, both within GECOM meetings and publicly, about the obvious dilatory tactics that are being employed to prevent the commencement of preparations for holding of elections in the constitutionally mandated timeline. I view this as another such delay,” Gunraj noted.

The parliamentary Opposition and other observers have accused Government of attempting to delay the holding of the constitutionally mandated elections following the no-confidence resolution of December 21, 2018. The three-month time frame in which the polls should be held was validated in last Thursday’s interpretation by acting Chief Justice Roxane George, who declared that the motion was validly passed 33-32.

GECOM’s Chairman, James Patterson

GECOM has been unforthcoming about its preparedness for the mandatory elections despite being mandated by the Constitution of Guyana to hold elections within three months of the passage of a no-confidence motion. In fact, during a meeting with both Opposition and Government Chief Whips, the Chairman of GECOM, retired Justice James Patterson abruptly ended a meeting on the Commissions preparedness after he was pressed for answers.

On Friday, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka urged the Guyana Government to demonstrate integrity and respect the Constitution. She told a gathering at an interfaith ceremony at the launch of Harmony Week, that building a peaceful and just society requires respect for the rule of law and confidence in national institutions.

“Recent political developments triggered by the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, are a test for Guyana’s strength and integrity with regards to the effectiveness of the rule of law and governance…The delivery of the decisions by the Chief Justice demonstrates the independence and integrity of the Judiciary in protecting the Constitution and upholding the rule of law. The Honourable Speaker’s earlier validation of the process of the controversial voting at the National Assembly was testimony of the integrity of the legislative arm of the State,” she said last week.

Tanaka lauded acting Chief Justice Roxane George for demonstrating the independence and integrity of the Judiciary when it comes to protecting the Constitution of Guyana.

“It is hoped that the third arm of the State, the Executive, will demonstrate its integrity and respect for Guyana’s Constitution and the Judiciary that constitute the foundation for the rule of law,” Tanaka added.

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