GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 22, 2019 (CMC) – President, David Granger, who is due to return from Cuba, where he has been undergoing medical treatment, is expected to name a date for fresh regional and general elections, “shortly”, according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
Harmon wrote to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo — on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 — indicating that President Granger had received a response to his letter, sent to the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice James Patterson, regarding the Commission’s readiness “to deliver credible elections in Guyana”.
In the letter, Harmon also quoted from Patterson’s response, in which he said that the Commission would be prepared to hold an election, “no earlier than late November 2019”, once certain conditions were met.
“In the circumstances, I am instructed to inform you that his Excellency, the President, intends to shortly name a date for the General and Regional elections in Guyana, within the framework provided by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission,” Harmon wrote.
In a written response to the Minister of State’s letter, yesterday (Thursday, March 21, 2019), Jagdeo said, “I have carefully perused the content of your letter, more particularly the final paragraph, which said, ‘In the circumstances, I am instructed to inform you that his Excellency, the President, intends to shortly name a date for the General and Regional elections in Guyana, within the framework provided by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission’.
“In the public domain, I have already expressed my views on ‘the framework provided by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission’ — one that includes national House to House Registration and Regional and General Elections in ‘late’ November 2019. I reiterate that the timeline, outlined by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, in his March 19, 2019 letter, is totally unacceptable.”
“I, therefore, request that you remind President David Granger that at midnight, tonight (March 21, 2019) his Government becomes illegal,” Jagdeo concluded.
The Opposition Leader had given until March 21, as the deadline for keeping within the constitutional guideline to hold the elections, following the December 21, 2018 successful motion of no confidence in the National Assembly that brought down the coalition administration.
Under the Guyana Constitution, elections had to be held, within 90 days following the successful motion of no confidence against the government or the period, extended by a special majority of the National Assembly.
The Parliament has not met to debate the extension.
Meanwhile, acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, later today, is expected to deliver the Court of Appeal’s ruling in the three matters, stemming from the appeal to the ruling of the High Court, regarding the December 21, 2018 vote in the National assembly that brought down the coalition government.
Earlier this week, Justice Cummings-Edwards, after hearing arguments in the matter, said that the Court of Appeal ruling will be handed down at 15.00 hours (3PM local time).
The Court of Appeal had earlier refused to grant a stay on the effects of the no-confidence vote, since, the acting Chancellor said, that would be overtaken by Friday’s ruling.