Jun 24, 2019 News
The Working People’s Alliance in a statement released yesterday, indicated that it is satisfied that GECOM is not able to guarantee credible elections with the current voters’ list, and that “given our history of controversial voters’ lists and charges of crooked elections, WPA prefers to err on the side of electoral integrity”.
The party said it is concerned that rushing to an election with a tainted list and the possible disenfranchisement of new voters would be unconstitutional and worse could aggravate tensions in the society that may prove counterproductive in the long run.
“Further, such a course of action could activate a new round of court actions that would ultimately cause more delays. We should not sacrifice one sacred principle in the undue haste to satisfy another one—what is needed is a formula that satisfies both. This calls for political will and maturity on the part of the leaders.
Given those concerns, we reiterate our support for house to house registration and/or other means aimed at ensuring a clean voters’ list. But in light of the stipulated constitutional timeline, WPA urges that this exercise be done in the shortest possible time. We do not believe that a few extra months offers the government side any unfair advantage, nor do we think it amounts to the use of delaying tactics.
The party affirmed that like others, it has accepted the CCJ’s rulings, even if there are partisan disagreements with or disappointment at the outcome. “In so doing, we affirm the legitimacy of the institutions we have collectively created and agreed to. In this regard, the swift recognition by the sitting government whose arguments did not find favour with the court was most encouraging.”
The statement continued: “The issues arising from the two cases are central to our country and the CARICOM sub-region’s political process. Nothing can be more important than the removal of a constitutionally elected government by means other than the electoral process or the process by which the chairperson of the elections commission is appointed.
WPA notes that the court has given the two sides an opportunity to arrive at a consensus on the orders to flow from the rulings. As far as guidance is concerned, it suggested a “happy marriage between principle and practicality.” For the WPA, this is a fair balance that should be embraced by all sides. The ball is once again in our leaders’ court—it is yet another test of their political maturity, which has so often been absent from their deliberations. WPA prefers a workable solution by the two sides rather than an order from the CCJ, which, in any case, seems reluctant to insert itself beyond its rulings.
The key question is when elections should be held. Understandably both sides would like a timeline that maximizes their chances of victory at the polls… The constitutional timeline of ninety days should be married to the practicality of holding credible elections within that timeframe. Credible elections are as sacrosanct as honouring the constitutional timeline that follows a successful No Confidence Vote. What is at stake is respect for both the rule of law and the need for free and fair elections in which all citizens are guaranteed the right to participate.
Regarding the selection of a new GECOM chair, WPA thinks that both the Opposition leader and the president have a responsibility to ensure that the system works to the advantage of Guyana. Towards this end, we endorse the suggestion that both leaders agree to a list of potential candidates from which the president chooses the Chair. We also suggest that such a list should not include anyone with overt political ties any political party. We further urge that this process be done in a timely manner. WPA remains confident that there are eminent Guyanese who are ready to put the interest of the country above partisan concerns.”
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