PPP insists Granger has no powers to declare emergency or convene Parliament as hinted

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FILE: President David Granger speaking with the media (MotP) file photo)

With a declaration of the election results by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) imminent, President David Granger has hinted at the possibility of declaring a State of Emergency to allow him to govern notwithstanding the election results from the just-concluded recount.

Granger made this pronouncement during an interview with select media personnel at State House. Responding to questions, he noted that a State of Emergency is a possibility considering the financial difficulties Guyana is in, the unresolved state of elections and the COVID-19 pandemic. He admitted that Government expenses are high while revenue is low.

“When the time comes and we hope it’s soon, we can return to Parliament and we can return to normalcy as quickly as possible. We have not yet reached a plateau in terms of COVID, but we expect the enforcement measures from the Police and other agencies will get us there very soon and we will be able to open up the economy. Maybe as early as July 1, so that revenue can start to flow back,” he indicated.

“For funds to be provided, there will have to be some mechanism for Parliament to reconvene. Right now, we’re not running on empty, but we’re running with very low funds. (Reconvening Parliament) will require some form of agreement, by which members of the 11th Parliament are prepared to resume.”

According to him, declaring a State of Emergency is a possibility in the context of whether GECOM nullifies the election. While Granger was of the view that Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield’s heavily subjective report makes a case for the elections to be nullified, none of the anomalies identified have been proven. Nor has A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) presented a shred of evidence.

“I know it has been done before. It is not an option I would embark on without receiving the agreement of all the parties concerned. I don’t think it can be undertaken lightly or arbitrarily. I think it was done in 1990. It is uncharted territory,” he said.

“I would have to seek the agreement of the Opposition, but in the last resort constitutions make provisions for force majeure situations. We are in such a situation in Guyana. I would consult the Leader of the Opposition and my partners before such drastic measures are taken.”

However, the main Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) wasted no time in pouring cold water on the possibility of recalling the 11th Parliament.

According to the Party, under no circumstances would it return to Parliament if GECOM did not declare a winner of the elections – a winner the recount has shown is its Presidential Candidate, Dr Irfaan Ali.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) wishes to make it abundantly clear that it will never return to Parliament or support the convening of Parliament unless the true results of the 2nd March 2020 elections, as recently recounted, is lawfully declared by GECOM.”

In addition, the Party lambasted the President for his “misconceived” view that GECOM could avoid declaring a result from the elections. According to the PPP, it is the Constitution that mandates GECOM to make a declaration.