GEORGETOWN, Guyana, January 7, 2019 (CMC) – Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, says the priorities for the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) when he meets with President, David Granger, to discuss the fallout of the successful motion of no confidence that resulted in the downfall of the coalition government, will be the general elections, likely to be held in March.
“We will however, still keep an open mind on issues of governance,” Jagdeo said, in a statement, emailed to reporters.
But he said compliance with the Guyana Constitution, in relation to the motion that was passed in the National Assembly on December 21, last year, “and preparation for free and fair elections will therefore be the main issue on the agenda of the meeting with the President on January 9”.
Last week, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said that President Granger, who is receiving medical treatment for cancer in Cuba, had instructed him to write Jagdeo requesting the meeting on Wednesday.
Harmon said that the coalition government is also awaiting a response from Jagdeo as to the matters he would like to be addressed at the meeting.
The coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) – suffered a major blow in the Parliament, when one of its members, Charrandass Persaud, sided with the motion by Jagdeo, to give the PPP a 33-32 victory in the 65-member National Assembly.
The PPP has since called on the government to name the date for fresh general elections, which it says must be held before March this year.
In the statement, Jagdeo appeared to be upset at the decision of the government to challenge the outcome of the motion of no confidence in the High Court.
Last weekend, farmer, Compton Herbert Reid, filed a motion in the court challenging the validity of Persaud’s vote, because he is a Canadian citizen.
Additionally, the Court is being asked to declare that Persaud was disqualified on the 7th April 2015 from being nominated as a member of the national assembly, and that his nomination as a candidate on the list of the coalition, APNU-AFC, is invalid, null and void and of no legal effect.
“They have reneged on the public statements, accepting the passage of the no confidence motion, using the most ludicrous arguments – that a 34/31 vote was needed for the motion to be successful; that they did not tactically speak about this when the motion was passed for fear of activating five other PPP moles on the government side; and that the PPP bribed Charrandass – without providing a shred of evidence. Further having failed to get the Speaker to reverse the ruling that the no confidence was carried, they have now resorted to the courts to override the Constitution,” Jagdeo said in his statement.
He said the political statements and legal manoeuvres by the government have created a potential setback for governance talks with President Granger “since they have acted in bad faith and done everything to undermine this collaborative approach”.