GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 20, 2019 (CMC) – Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has dismissed a weekend address to the country by President David Granger that his government is not illegitimate saying the address “repeats the fallacies and fictions” that the coalition administration has been peddling since it lost the motion of no confidence that led to its downfall.
“To recognize the pattern of duplicity and the peddling of fallacies and fictions, Guyanese have to go back to the night of December 21, 2019, where there was initial acceptance by President Granger and his Government of the consequences that were triggered by the passage of the no confidence motion.
“The coalition, in bad faith, then backpedalled on its initial comments. Fallacies and fictions, as well as excuses, became the new order of the day,’ Jagdeo said in a statement.
In his radio and television broadcast last Friday, Granger said that his coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government was not unconstitutional and that there is no legal impediment that restrains it from exercising its functions or requires it to assume only ‘caretaker’ functions.
“The Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is sacrosanct and supreme; the independence of the Judiciary and the Elections Commission is respected and the National Assembly is functional,” Granger said, adding that he is confident that, if these institutions are allowed to function without interference, the nation could expect a good outcome to the present situation.
“I wish to assure everyone that the government will continue to respect the Constitution, abide by the law and ensure the orderly functioning of the agencies of public administration and the efficient conduct of credible elections.”
The PPP has been calling for fresh regional and general elections in keeping with the Constitution that allowed for 30 days for the polls to be held following the passage of the motion of no confidence.
The Constitution also allows for an extension of the time, but it must be approved by a special majority in the 65-member National Assembly.
Jagdeo, whose motion has triggered the political stalemate here, said his party has no intention of providing the necessary support to extend the deadline even though the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said that it is unable to conduct credible elections within the existing time fare. GECOM has suggested a date in July.
In the statement, Jagdeo said one of the first fallacies repeated relates to funding for GECOM.
“The President says GECOM may need additional “resources” for the conduct of General and Regional Elections, when the Fiscal Management and Accountability (FMAA) (Amendment) Act 2015, which he signed off on in August 2015, makes it clear that GECOM can use sums from the $5.731 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) appropriation to conduct elections,’ Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo also brushed aside the statement by the government that its decision to challenge the High Court ruling that the motion of no confidence was valid noting that “prior to the vote on the no-confidence motion, the government claimed that their 33 votes would be enough to protect it.
“After the vote, questionable mathematics relative to 33 not being a majority of 65 found its way into government’s legal arguments,” he said.
Jagdeo said that after March 21, the coalition government “becomes unconstitutional, illegitimate and illegal.
“Sole responsibility for the impending constitutional crisis rests with President Granger and his government. The President’s failure to address the fundamental issues has been addressed by the Parliamentary Opposition, repeatedly,” he added.