GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 19, 2019 (CMC) – Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has criticised the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping over its silence on the political situation in Guyana, even as it commented on the political situations in Haiti and Venezuela.
“CARICOM needs to take an even stronger role. I am surprised that I have not even seen a statement coming from it as yet,” Jagdeo told his weekly news conference, noting that the Guyana-based regional institution had been busy addressing problems in other parts of the world.
The Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that a motion of no-confidence, tabled in the National Assembly on December 21, last year. The Court, which is the country’s highest, said, on July 12, that while it would not set a date for the polls, which must be held within 90 days in keeping with the Constitution, it would hope that all the political actors would adhere to the provisions of the Constitution.
Jagdeo told reporters that the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPPC) is aware of plans by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to “frustrate” the CCJ ruling and warned that the party would not tolerate such a situation.
But he said he was disappointed that CARICOM, of which Guyana is a member, had so far, not broken its silence, publicly, on the unfolding political situation here, even as he reported meeting with the CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, recently.
He elaborated that the CCJ is a “regional institution that we worked to establish and, if the region cannot respect the decision of a superior court that it created as an organ of regional integration, then the region would be found lacking,” said Jagdeo, a former Head of State, here.
“We cannot be busy sending missions to Haiti when they have an interruption of Constitutional rule or Venezuela when they have a breakdown of democratic order and, here in Guyana, which is the headquarters state of CARICOM, ignore that you have a government now in office, that is illegally there, because elections should have been held since March 21,” Jagdeo told reporters.
Jagdeo has been holding talks with members of the various diplomatic missions, stationed here, and reminded journalists that in a joint statement, earlier this week, the diplomats of the United States, Britain and the European Union had urged all local stakeholders to recognise and accept the CCJ ruling.
One of the rulings of the CCJ regards the appointment of a new GECOM chairman, after it said that the selection of the former holder, retired justice James Patterson, was flawed and unconstitutional.
The CCJ called on both President David Granger and Jagdeo to ensure that a new chairman is appointed, as quickly as possible, and during the news conference Jagdeo acknowledged that the meetings were progressing well.