Govt’s move is Guyana’s worst constitutional transgression – FITUG

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has spoken out against the move made by Government to ignore the constitutional provisions of a no-confidence motion describing it as one of the country’s worst constitutional transgression.

FITUG President Carvil Duncan

The umbrella trade union body said it cannot ignore the many concerns being expressed at this time regarding what will be the state of play following the March 21, 2019 constitutional deadline regarding the legitimacy of the coalition Government.
“For its part, the Federation has seen Government’s attempts to quell the worries that have risen slowly to the brim over the last three months. Most recently, we have heard from no lesser than President David Granger who in an address to the nation last Friday (March 15) sought to assure the populace that all will be well and that no crisis will be at hand,” FITUG said in a statement.
The Federation said it also recognises, as it were, that the Government has thrown the ball squarely in the court of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The discourses of that body have now gained public repute and it seems there is no haste on the part of the Commission to deliver elections in keeping with what is constitutionally prescribed.
“Undoubtedly, such conclusions were not hard to reach as we noted that the Commissioners who emanate from the President’s party are insisting on the conduct of a house-to-house registration exercise. It is our view, that the Commissioners making such calls are merely parroting their party’s position. The public is well aware of the protests and picketing exercises, led by the President’s party, calling for such an exercise,” it added Tuesday.

President David Granger and his cabinet

FITUG also made reference to a video which appeared on social media which revealed that at an activity organised by the President’s party – the People’s National Congress (PNC) – a call of war was sounded should the exercise not be pursued. “What war meant is obviously up for debate and could be best answered by those who sounded the proverbial horn.”
Further, it said the indecision at GECOM comes at the same time the President said he is committed to having credible elections in the shortest time frame. But it noted that the President who expressed this desire after more than two-thirds of the timeline had expired has yet to define what he really means.
FITUG said, “We recognised notwithstanding the President’s call, his nominated Commissioners are vehement in their demand for house-to-house registration though the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, is quoted in the media to say that GECOM can work with the list.”
At this time too, FITUG said it is perplexed as it saw the President in his address saying that he is prepared to do his part to ensure credible elections within the shortest possible time this year. “Our obvious confusion is heightened, noting that the house-to-house registration process, cannot, in all likelihood, be completed this year but the President is, apparently, adamant the elections must be held this year,” the trade union umbrella body added.
Taking the two contradictory objectives into account, FITUG said it cannot help but wonder whether the house-to-house call is a pretext to ensure that the current valid official list of electors expires on April 30, 2019. “If this is indeed the case, the rationale for such a ploy evades us, and we wonder whether it is a case of there being more in the mortar than the pestle. Given our nation’s history of electoral malpractices, this concern should not be treated lightly.”
It ended, “We are aware of the several justifiable concerns that have been expressed and know in such situations that it is the working-people and their families that are usually the worst affected. As the sands of the constitutional clock run out, our people grow more and more worried as our country’s worst constitutional transgression takes place.”