Every local option was exhausted to resolve issue – Opposition Leader
Constitutionally mandated elections
Having been unable to reach a compromise with the coalition Government regarding a possible date for the next General and Regional Elections, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said the only option left is to internationalise and lobby international organisations, countries and bodies for their support.
Jagdeo maintained that there is nothing wrong with doing so. The former Guyanese Head of State said as a patriot, it bothers him that “we can’t resolve our own issues.” The Opposition Leader said he has exhausted every possible means available to him to try to work on a solution to the matter.
“Sometimes when you meet all the good-faith efforts and you don’t have a party that is willing to engage like this Government… they started off by saying that we respect the passage of the No-confidence Motion and now they are coming up with all spurious reasons why it shouldn’t apply.”
Jagdeo said he felt that President David Granger and his Government were never keen to listen to his party’s concerns, and was insisting that it is business as usual. “In the clear face of a crisis, how do you make a breakthrough because they don’t listen to us. I’ve asked for several meetings. You would recall the two meetings I’ve had how far apart they came,” he told a recent media conference.
In addition to that, the Opposition Leader pointed to the fact that when he met with the President, he had made a proposal to him. And instead of consulting with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to find out whether his proposal was realistic, instead he repeated the same old excuses.
“Clearly, that is not engagement and when in countries people at the national level refuse to respect the Constitution as they have done in two cases; the GECOM Chairman’s (James Patterson) appointment being one. How do you at the domestic level get them to comply, except approach the international community for sanctions,” the Opposition Leader said, giving his reason for doing so.
Jagdeo pointed to 2014 when President Granger, who was the then Opposition Leader, called for sanctions for Guyana when the issue was not even close to what has transpired now. “… That situation that was practically harmless, when (Donald) Ramotar pirogue the Parliament because he had the right to do so.”
Besides that, the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) General Secretary said there is also an international principle when it comes to issues such as human rights, free and fair elections, and freedom and universal values. He said many countries have in some way or the other accepted these core values.
“The guardians of which must be the multilateral institutions, the global community as well as the domestic politicians and if democracy or human rights and freedom are infringed upon at the local level in these areas, then you have to seek the support for these universal values,” he asserted.
Jagdeo will be seeking to get personal sanctions against the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, the GECOM Chairman and Government-appointed GECOM Commissioners. “We have seen sanctions of various kinds done by the international community on organisations, Government or personal actions… I am more in favour of personal sanctions because when you sanction a country, the people all suffer.”
Jagdeo said he will be comfortable if the Commissioners are banned from travelling to certain international jurisdictions and their bank accounts are frozen. He said, too, that he will be seeking sanctions against the Executive when it becomes illegal after the March 19 deadline.
Jagdeo said he has met with the Carter Center twice already and has made this known his position.