GAWU calls out Govt for “brazen” attempts to overlook Constitution
…FITUG warns of repercussions if Constitution not upheld
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) on Wednesday joined the call for political leaders to respect the ruling handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
During an event organised to mark the 100th anniversary of trade unionism in Guyana, General Secretary of the Union Seepaul Narine said that there have been “brazen” attempts to overlook the Constitution as he called for election preparations to take urgency.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to what appears to be brazen attempts to undermine that culture and disrespect our nation’s Constitution. It is a matter that we go to the greatest degree of discomfort, and racist apprehensions these days and the implications of which must be a concern to workers and the trade union movement. It would be remiss of the trade union movement if this conference does not call on political leaders to abide fully by the CCJ’s ruling and agreeing on a date for national and regional elections as a matter of urgency,” Narine shared.
The CCJ ruled on June 18, 2019 that the No-Confidence Motion against the Government was validly passed with 33 votes on December 21, 2018. This means that the administration is now a caretaker Government.
Last week, during the handing down of consequential orders, the CCJ ordered that a date for elections be set in keeping with the constitutional deadline. This meant that elections should be held in three months of the June 18 decision.
Meanwhile, President of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) Carvil Duncan was also vocal about what he described as the unsteady political climate and reminded that “hell would break loose” if Guyana’s Constitution is not upheld.
“The Constitution is the rule of this country and if we don’t follow the Constitution, all hell will break loose. Let us do what is right and the Constitution dictates what is right. Let us do it,” he echoed.
Private sector bodies and members of the diplomatic community have also called for the CCJ ruling to be upheld and that the Constitution be respected.
On Monday, in a joint statement, members of the diplomatic community in Guyana, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union, stated they have taken note of the CCJ’s pronouncements on July 12.
The joint statement by the group said that it is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by the CCJ’s ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. The diplomats further urged that this adherence be done expeditiously.
This followed statements issued by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), which also urged compliance with the Court and Constitution. According to the PSC, the appointment of a new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman must be done the right way.
The commission, which is the umbrella body for the business community, warned that President David Granger must not go down the road of another unilateral appointment.
While the Opposition Leader is solely responsible for selecting six nominees, the Head of State, in the informal process, would have opted to produce his own list, which to the surprise of many, consisted of former GECOM Chairman retired Justice James Patterson, whose appointment was ruled as “flawed” in the opinion of the CCJ.
After several correspondences over the weekend, Granger and Jagdeo finally met on Tuesday, where it was disclosed that four of the 11 names submitted were “not unacceptable” by the President. However, those persons were not revealed. The discussions on the matter are ongoing.