…..envoys commit support to GECOM for any elections
Opposition leader Brigadier (rtd) David Granger recently called on Head of State, Donald Ramotar, to set a date for Local Government Elections by tomorrow. But President Ramotar wants clarification and the international community says despite whatever decision is made it is prepared to assist the Guyana Elections Commission.
Granger has threatened to bring international pressure on the ruling administration should it not call a date for local Government elections but according to Western Diplomats, they have had no such deliberations with the opposition leader neither are they aware of what is in Granger’s letter addressed to Ramotar.
Heads of the American, British and Canadian envoys met with media operatives this past week and said that they have not been in contact with Granger over the ultimatum. They also indicated that in keeping with tradition they will be willing to assist GECOM in whatever way they can.
According to the US Charge d’ Affairs, Bryan Hunt, the Leader of the Opposition, Granger did not send a copy of the letter to the US Embassy and as such he could not pronounce on the contents of the correspondence.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Andrew Ayre, also reported to media operatives that he was not in receipt of a copy of the correspondence and as such could not make a pronouncement either.
He did stress however that, the holding of local government election was a matter for Guyana and Guyanese.
High Commissioner Ayre was supported by his Canadian counterpart Dr Nicole Giles.
On the matter of support to GECOM Dr Giles told media operatives that Canada has an ongoing relationship with the Elections Commission as part of normal diplomatic relations in the country.
She said that the Canadian mission will look forward to having deeper discussions with GECOM.
Dr Giles said that the Canadian Government will consider what is required based on requests made by GECOM and will make evaluations at that point in time.
“The Government of Canada will be heavily engaged in ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections in Guyana as we have in the past.”
Ayre also echoed the Canadian High Commissioner saying that his government looks forward to assisting GECOM in delivering free and fair elections in Guyana.
Hunt of the US Embassy reminded that the Leadership and Democracy Project (LEAD) plays a critical role in supporting GECOM in the event of local government elections.
He said that it will certainly support the concept of free and fair elections in Guyana.
Granger this past week issued an ultimatum to be fulfilled by Monday, otherwise he promises to invoke the wrath of the international community.
The political leader outlined that in accordance with the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, “Local Government is a vital aspect of democracy.”
He told Ramotar, “Local Government Elections, last held in 1994, are a constitutional obligation and a democratic entitlement of the Guyanese people. It is not an option of the executive branch of government.”
In his bid to give the President further reasons to conform with the Constitution, Granger reminded, “You had promised in the People’s Progressive Party Civic Manifesto ¯ Working Together for a Better Tomorrow – to ensure that within one year of the 2011 general elections, local government elections are held.”
Upon those platforms, Granger stated, “We now call on you to respect the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana; to respect the decision of the National Assembly with regard to the Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill 2014; and to respect your manifesto “Working Together for a Better Tomorrow.”
The Opposition Leader told the President that he has until or before today to announce the date for LGE to be held countrywide; to issue the ‘Commencement Order’ to operationalize the Local Government Commission and to initiate a process by which the Local Government (Amendment) Bill could be returned for his assent.
The president has since asked Granger to clarify his position. And head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, has said that the opposition leader is asking for the impossible.
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