By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is holding tight to its position that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will not be in a state of readiness for the holding of Local Government Elections by August 1, 2014.
According to the Party’s General Secretary Clement Rohee, the PPP Commissioners at GECOM have informed with good reason why the Commission will not be prepared entirely by August 1 for any elections.
On February 10, the Combined Parliamentary Opposition using its one seat majority in the National Assembly managed to vote against the postponement of Local Government Elections for 2014 as proposed by Government by an amendment to the Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill. The Opposition through a counter adjustment amended the Bill for Elections to be held by August 1.
“This is not about the opposition’s readiness, it is about the readiness of GECOM to effectively conduct the elections, and it is not about the readiness of any political party” Rohee told reporters on Monday, February 17 at a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Georgetown.
Rohee stated that the move by the Opposition in the House seeks to take away the executive authority of the Local Government Minister to determine and announce the date for the elections.
When asked about the likelihood of the President’s assent to the amended Bill, which was passed unanimously in the House, Rohee would only remind that the Head of State has constitutional right whether to assent or withhold his approval.
He said the Party will take the lead from the Office of the President and will speak more definitively on that aspect of the matter when the time comes.
Local Government Elections were postponed for the last 17 years in Guyana, having been last held in 1994 using this same method of postponement in the National Assembly, but according to Rohee the Opposition’s amendment is ‘history in the making’.
He admitted that it was confusing that the PPP’s representatives at GECOM are reporting that the Commission will not be ready while the opposition representatives seem to be saying otherwise.
“Their decision ought to be in harmony because they all sit together and discuss.”
While GECOM is in the process of finding a new Chief Elections Officer, the Commission’s Chairman had said in the past that once a date for elections was announced the Commission will be ready within six months.
Rohee said according to the PPP representatives, the demarcation of boundaries process is still ongoing.
“We need to understand that this election is a new kind, very complex and we should not complicate things further.”
He issued a call for the Ppposition to work with the incumbent in ensuring that GECOM is adequately prepared so that the results can be satisfactory and acceptable to all.