Private Sector calls on caretaker President to set election date

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…says delay will further harm Guyana’s credibility

…calls out Caricom, OAS for silence

As pressure continues to mount on caretaker President David Granger to set a date for General and Regional Elections as is constitutionally mandated, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) of Guyana on Monday joined the call, saying that this should be done immediately.

The PSC in a statement urged caretaker President David Granger to immediately name a date for General and Regional Elections, given that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has specified a timeline.

PSC Chairman Captain Gerry Gouveia

The PSC indicated that they waited until GECOM Chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh could have announced the election body’s readiness for the polls, saying that now that she has done so, Granger is called upon to announce a date without further prevarication or delay.

Last Thursday Justice Singh informed President Granger via a letter that “given all the objective factors, in addition to the deliberations of the Commission and my most recent consultations with our Secretariat, I have concluded and take this opportunity to officially inform you, that the Guyana Elections Commission will be able to deliver credible elections by the end of February 2020”.

In light of this, the Private Sector body voiced deep concerns that the Commission’s decision was infringing their constitutional mandate to facilitate elections within three months after the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling on June 18.

“The Private Sector Commission wishes, however, to express its deep concern that GECOM’s decision is in contravention of the constitutional obligation of GECOM to have been ready to conduct elections no later than three months after the ruling of the CCJ on June 18, 2019, resulting in the APNU/AFC coalition remaining in office by relying upon the Disciplined Services to exercise its authority.”

President David Granger

This, the PSC noted, could have dire consequences on the country’s credibility, having shown indications that there is no commitment to the laws or respect towards the Constitution.

According to the PSC, it cannot emphasise strongly enough that any further delay on the part of the President to name an election date will significantly exacerbate the already considerable harm that has been done to Guyana’s credibility as a country no longer committed to the rule of law and constitutional probity.

Adding to that, condemnation from international bodies have added to the conundrum. This disapproval from foreign counterparts was deemed as a “serious consequence” for Guyana. So far, Guyana’s major supporting partners: the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and now the Commonwealth Secretary General have cited a breach in the constitutional provisions.

Meanwhile, on the local ground, the Bar Association, the religious community, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) have expressed deep concern for the unconstitutional status of the Government.

The PSC positioned, “The PSC wishes to remind that the statement from the international community has, in fact, emphasised that Guyana’s economic development and the ability of those countries to support our development needs, is now dangerously compromised. The PSC must point out that the consequence of doing business under a Government shorn of its constitutional authority becomes virtually impossible due to the premiums placed on international equity and borrowings and the demands for compliance with procedures of international financial institutions.”

The statement went on to remind of the number of months since the No-Confidence Motion was successfully passed in the National Assembly last year. Recognition was placed on the superfluous delays which resulted in the present situation.

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

It called out other international and regional bodies for being completely silent during Guyana’s constitutional crisis. The Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Organisation of American States (OAS) were listed for failing to address or take action against the current political and democratic situation.

The PSC also expressed its grave disappointment and dissatisfaction over the inaction and deafening silence of the Heads of Government and the Secretary General of Caricom for failing to recognise the serious challenge in Guyana to the principles of democratic governance embraced by all of the Governments of the Caribbean Community and to have not, by now, taken appropriate action. “The PSC is equally concerned over the silence of the OAS and its inaction to comply with Article 20 of its own Charter.”