-Notes that it is supposed to be the other way around
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has lashed out at GECOM over its decision to not prepare for election in keeping with the constitutionally mandated timeline.
The Party sent out a missive to the media yesterday.
PPP said that the “APNU+AFC Coalition Government-nominated Commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the unilaterally appointed GECOM Chairman, James Patterson, demonstrated their illogical willingness to toe the Government line, and in so doing have made the Constitution of Guyana subservient to the will of GECOM.”
The party reiterated that the provisions of the Constitution are clear on the consequences of the successful passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly – the validity of which was upheld by the High Court following a ruling from the Chief Justice (ag).
Further, the PPP cited Article 106 (6) of the Constitution which states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
PPP noted that Article 106 (7) goes on to state that: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”
PPP said that moreover, GECOM’s mandate, as stipulated by the Constitution, is also clear.
In this regard, PPP cited Article 162 (1) of the Constitution.
Article 162 (1) of the Constitution states, “The Elections Commission shall have such functions connected with or relating to the registration of electors or the conduct of elections as conferred upon it by or under this Constitution or, subject thereto, any Act of Parliament.”
PPP said that the correct order of things, GECOM is subservient to the Constitution of Guyana, not the other way around.
PPP said that GECOM’s refusal to begin preparations for General and Regional Elections, after the December 21, 2018 vote on the no-confidence motion, finds it complicit in frustrating the timeline for the constitutionally due elections.
Additionally, the party was keen to note that there has been no effort to make a decision on what obtains in the short-term. “There has also been no decision at the level of the Commission on when GECOM will be ready for elections.
“Secondly, on the issue of funding, the PPP is of the view that this is the latest hurdle thrown up by the government-influenced parties at GECOM.”
The first hurdle introduced was the call for new house-to-house registration – which has been exposed as unnecessary at this time, the PPP said.
The PPP maintains that the laws of Guyana are clear on funding for constitutional agencies like GECOM.
PPP said that the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act 2015, Section 80 B (8) – makes it clear that: “The appropriation of a Constitutional Agency approved by the National Assembly shall be disbursed as a lump sum by the end of the month, following the month in which the appropriation was approved.”
Further, PPP recalled that Section 80B (7) of the same act states that: “The annual budget of a Constitutional Agency approved by the National Assembly shall not be altered without prior approval of the National Assembly.”
Given its citing, the PPP said that the law clearly prohibits the Minister of Finance from altering the appropriation to GECOM, as he is empowered to do with the appropriations of non-constitutional agencies. However, PPP stated that the law does not prevent GECOM from utilizing the “lump sum” as it sees fit to carry out its functions.
PPP thinks that GECOM’s action yesterday is intended to influence the court proceedings, set to continue today. PPP said that the Constitution makes clear that the judiciary cannot extend the deadline for which General and Regional Elections are constitutionally due; “rather such an act remains in the remit of the Legislature.”
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