By Abena Rockcliffe
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Clement Rohee has made known that his Party is only prepared to contest in one election, even in light of actions which registered calls for both General and Local Government Elections.
Rohee made the assertion on Monday as he hosted his Party’s weekly press conference at Freedom House.
“With elections looming, be it Local Government or General, this is certainly an encouraging move to ensure our democracy is protected and Guyanese are afforded their rights as is stated in the Constitution of Guyana.”
He said that as he had expressed, the PPP noted the latest development, whereby GECOM has released its intention to employ an Information Technology Manager.
Further, Rohee said, “One statement that struck me is that we (PPP) do not seem to know what is happening on the ground and we are misreading the mood of the people.”
He opined that this cannot be determined by reading the daily newspapers, watching regular programmes or by making a call or watching facebook occurrences.
Rohee said that during his years in politics he learnt that the best way to find out the mood of the people is to “get down on the ground and walk the villages and the communities, sit down at a bottom house, sit down on a back step, sit down in someone’s hammock and rap with the people on the ground…that is the only way to actually tell the mood of the people.”
He said that the PPP has been on the ground and has been able to assess that “right now the mood of the people is that they want one of the two elections. Whichever one we say we are going for they will follow us.”
When questioned as to whether his statements meant that the PPP is only prepared to contest one of the two elections, Rohee said that he doubts that the two elections can be held in one year.
He told Kaieteur News, “Well I don’t know that our Constitution and the Representation of the People Act can facilitate two elections both being held in one year… I doubt it and it has never happened in Guyana’s political or electoral history.”
Rohee added that even though so is the case, there is a lot of political chat taking place on these possibilities “but the law must be complied with”.
The General Secretary said that the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) will have to decide if the desire is to have General or Local Government Elections.
He added that, “the PPP is working and preparing for any one of the two elections.” However, hee noted He noted APNU’s preparedness specifically for Local Government Elections with some measure of disregard for the possibility of Guyana having General Elections.
But, Kaieteur News gathered from reliable sources that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) conducts elections as called upon to so do, and therefore can hold both elections in the very same year.
The sources say that the President is the one authorized to call General Elections while the Minister of Local Government is authorized to call Local Government Election.
It was pointed out that there is no legal provision that Local Government and General Elections cannot be held in the same year. However, it was explained that if there should be a “clash”, General Elections would take precedence and Local Government Elections would be held 90 days later.
When the National Assembly reconvenes later this month, it will debate and consider the No-Confidence Motion that the AFC laid against the government.
Approval of that Motion would result in the resignation of President Donald Ramotar and his entire Cabinet being forced to resign. The President would also have to set a date for elections within three months after the Motion is passed. He also has the choice of calling snap elections even before the Motion is passed.
APNU pledged to support the AFC’s Motion and subsequently renewed calls for a date to be set for the holding of Local Government Elections.
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