‘Put Guyana first’ – ERC urges political stakeholders

File: President David Granger (center) flanked by the 10 new ERC members
File: President David Granger (center) flanked by the 10 new ERC members

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has expressed concerns over the current political impasse regarding the hosting of General and Regional Elections, and is urging players to adhere to the Constitution of Guyana.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Commission pointed out that since the December 21, 2018 passage the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the coalition Government, it has been aware of the ensuing political impasse and how Guyanese have seemingly become more divided along political lines.

“The ERC, not unaware of [these challenges], urges the relevant authorities to work assiduously to have elections within the shortest possible time in keeping with the Constitution and the rule of law,” the missive stated.

According to the ERC, it has a constitutional and national responsibility to promote cooperation, arbitration, conciliation, mediation and like forms of dispute resolution between all bodies concerned in order to secure ethnic harmony and peace.

The ERC added that its integral role encompasses intervention to mitigate social tension derived from political impasse, which, if unresolved, will impact negatively on ethnic harmony and peace.

The Commission outlined that despite rulings at various levels of the judicial system, the current political impasse seems no closer to being resolved and, evident from some public utterances and through social media, tensions have unfortunately been exacerbated from all sides.

Moreover, the ERC posited that it respects the independence of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as safeguarded in the Constitution. On this note, the Commission is urging persons to display patience as GECOM executes its mandate to arrive at a date for elections.

At the same, however, the ERC recognised that in the interim, the social fabric of the society will undoubtedly be severely tested more so, along political lines.

Nevertheless, the Commission appeals to citizens to remain calm and resolute. It is also calling on Guyanese to embrace peaceful, harmonious and good relations in this testing period.

The ERC has its genesis in the Herdmanston Accord, which was signed on January 17, 1998 by the then President, Mrs Janet Jagan of the People’s Progressive Party Civic, and Hugh Desmond Hoyte, then Leader of the Opposition.