PPP’s Presidential candidate should be ‘hard working’, ‘courageous’- Jagdeo

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…reiterates his intention to have more women take up formal positions in the party

Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo believes that the candidate to run for presidency in 2020 General Elections for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) should be “hard working,” have “management skills” and be “courageous.”

Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He made this disclosure on Tuesday during a press conference, when he was probed as to who the new candidate for presidency would be.

Jagdeo, who served two terms in office as President, was effectively disqualified from serving another term after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Tuesday ruled in favour of the state in the case of the Attorney General of Guyana v Cedric Richardson.

In that case, the CCJ ruled that an amendment, that barred Presidents of the Republic
of Guyana from serving more than two terms in office, was a valid amendment to the Constitution.

Richardson had originally challenged the amendment on the basis that he should have
the sovereignty to choose whomsoever he wanted to be President. He also stated that the amendment disqualified former President, Jagdeo, from running for office in upcoming elections.

Richardson argued that the amendment was inconsistent with his rights under Articles 1 and 9 of the Constitution which declared that Guyana was a “sovereign democratic state”. He said that in order for the National Assembly to amend the Constitution, the amendment had to be supported by a majority vote in a referendum. He also said that no referendum was held before the amendment in the year 2000 and therefore the amendment was unconstitutional.

Richardon’s challenge went all the way to Guyana’s Court of Appeal which ruled in February 2017 that the amendments by Parliament to limit the number of times a person could serve as President were unconstitutional.

During that February decision, then acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh, was supported by Justice of Appeal BS Roy in upholding then acting Chief Justice Ian Chang’s decision that the amendments were unconstitutional.

Attorney General Basil Williams had appealed the Appeal Court’s landmark ruling in February 2017 that declared that sovereignty resides in the people and not in the Parliament; and as such, certain fundamental clauses in the Constitution that serve to define its substantive nature can be altered only by a referendum of the people.

The CCJ ruling overturned Guyana’s Court of Appeal ruling.

Jagdeo who touched on the ruling during his press conference on Tuesday said that “The CCJ ruling has been interpreted in a particular way but it is still our law. As someone who has always complied with our law, the same situation remains today.”

He also reiterated that he will remain the General Secretary (GS) of the PPP, while explaining that his reason for wanting to remain as a formal part of the PPP is to ensure that “the implementation of transformation for Guyana is guaranteed for Guyanese.”

“We have an election to win and I will work even harder now to ensure that we do so,” he said.

He further posited that while he is aware that PPP supporters are extremely disappointed that the CCJ ruling was not in his favour, he wants them to know that he will remain an “integral part of the struggle.”

Jagdeo also reiterated his intention to have more women take up formal positions within the PPP.

“I’m going to work day and night to add more women in formal positions within the party and to make it look like Guyana,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo sarcastically quipped at the sudden acts of “good will” on the part of APNU-AFC members who have openly begun to volunteer their suggestions of who within the PPP party would be considered a “strong candidate” for presidency in 2020.

“We know they would like to see the weakest candidate so they believe that they can trump that candidate in the elections,” he stated, while asserting that “the PPP will be selecting the next candidate” for the General Elections.

As media operatives attempted to gain specifics as to whether he, as a former President, saw anyone for that position, Jagdeo said “I see many people I like for that position. These people are hard working, have great management skills and are courageous. That’s what I think a President should be.”

However, when probed further he added “You’re trying to get me into specifics and I’m not going there. It will come in good time.”

Nevertheless, he asserted that he is hoping that the party selects “a candidate that will enhance our program- pro-poor, pro-enhancing party.” (Ramona Luthi)

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