Hours after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) informed President David Granger yesterday that the earliest date for elections will be February month-end, western diplomats have urged for one to be set immediately.
“We therefore call upon the President to set an elections date immediately in full compliance with Guyana’s constitution,” a joint statement from the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union said.
The statement came from the United States of America Ambassador to Guyana, Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch; United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn and the European Union Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó.
The statement would be the toughest from the western diplomats since the December 21st no-confidence vote in the National Assembly which set Guyana down a path for early elections.
The vote, by Member of Parliament, Charrandas Persaud, was deemed properly carried at the Parliament level but was challenged in the highest levels of the court which agreed it was properly done.
It forced the resignation of a number of senior ministers, including the president’s son-in-law after it became known that they had dual citizenship.However, the Coalition Government, four and half years in its five-year term, has been insisting that GECOM has first to notify the President that it is ready for elections, before he can fix a date.
This position had been vehemently objected to by the Opposition- the People’s Progressive Party, which lost power in 2015 after a 23-year run as Government.
With oil production to start next year, the western countries have been worried with investors cagey about the ongoing standoff which has businesses nervous.
“The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union thank the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for devising a proposed elections timeframe for conducting General and Regional Elections.”The statement also stressed that the laws of Guyana is being broken as the decisions of the courts are not being followed.“However, we deeply regret that, by surpassing September 18, the Government is currently in breach of the Constitution following its failure to adhere to the decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 18 June (last) and its subsequent orders.”
The diplomats said that this situation comes at great cost to the people of Guyana.
“The prevailing political uncertainty undermines Guyanese institutions, compromises economic opportunities and delays development across all areas including infrastructure, education, health, and social services.”
It was also hinted that financing could be in jeopardy because of the situation.
The Opposition has been maintaining that the Coalition is illegal and is a caretaker government.
The coalition, on the other hand, made it clear that it sees itself as an interim government.
The president himself has said that his government has curtailed it powers, reducing foreign visits and not entering into any major deals.
“It (the situation) also hinders our ability to support Guyana’s development needs,” the joint statement said.
Earlier in the day, GECOM’s chair, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, wrote the president and said that she has concluded that the earliest time that “credible” elections can be held is by February month-end.
This is what she wrote to the president:
May it please you Excellency,
I am cognizant of the fact that both you and the nation are anxiously awaiting the specific information in relation to GECOM’s readiness to conduct credible elections in the shortest possible time.
In this regard, therefore I shall forego, for the purpose of this letter, the lengthy explanations, considerations of law, procedures and logistics that inform my decision.
Given all the objective factors, in addition to the deliberations of the Commission and my most recent consultations with our Secretariat, I have concluded, and take this opportunity to officially inform you, that the Guyana Elections Commission will be able to deliver credible elections by the end of February 2020.
With highest regards,
Justice Claudette Singh, SC, CCH
Guyana Elections Commission
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