The current political situation in Guyana is dominating the various social media sites, and young people, more than ever before, are at the centre of the debates and discussions. Young people’s access to technology, more so high speed internet connectivity, has made it possible for this level of interaction to take place much faster and on a wider scale.
Political leaders are also well aware of the opportunities made possible through this medium, and are certainly taking advantage of it. In their quest to increase following and win the hearts and minds of voters, almost every event by the major political parties is streamed live, and rebroadcasted on Facebook and other social media sites. Certainly, many citizens, both here and abroad, are paying keen attention to the current political developments, and are wasting no time is expressing their views on the trending political and social issues.
Guyana is now in unchartered territory, and it would be very interesting to see how the politics would unfold here in the coming weeks and perhaps months. Citizens are looking to see the kind of political leadership that would be provided to bring the country back in line with being a functioning democracy. On its part, the now caretaker Government has done everything to ensure that Guyana is plunged into a constitutional crisis. The administration has used all avenues it possibly can to stall the process of selecting a GECOM chair and naming an elections date within the constitutional timeframe.
No doubt, in its fight to hold firm to political power, the APNU/AFC Coalition has lost credibility and support. As it currently stands, the 90-day period for the President to call elections would expire in September, taking into account that all court proceedings ended on June 18, 2019 with the Caribbean Court of Justice ruling that the No Confidence Motion was validly passed. There will be no agreement by a two-thirds majority of the Parliament to extend the life of the Government. However, naming an elections date now depends on whether APNU/AFC Administration would finally decide to abide by the constitutional provisions and the CCJ ruling.
It was stated before, and we repeat for emphasis’ sake: The Constitution is clear on the actions that must be followed after a no-confidence vote. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
With the Government’s defeat, the next steps in Clause 7 of Article 106 go on to state that, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”
We believe that, in order to find a solution to the crisis, there is need for a great deal of maturity from the leader of the APNU/AFC Coalition, David Granger, to abide by the Constitution, which he swore to uphold when he took the reins of power back in March 2015. While the Opposition must take the Government to task and ensure that it complies with the constitutional provisions, it has played its part in working with the key players to find a solution to the crisis.
It is also hoped that all other stakeholders, including civil society, GECOM, the foreign missions, and the media, would work to ensure that Guyanese are given an opportunity to elect a government of their choice.
Our President, who is now a caretaker president, is expected to put country first, above partisan interests. That is the kind of political leadership that is needed at this time.