Granger’s refusal to issue elections proclamation suspicious – former Minister

Unless caretaker President David Granger issues a proclamation that March 2 is Election Day (E-Day), former Minister Leslie Ramsammy said it can only be assumed that elections will be “really and truly” held on that day and that it is not just another hoax.
Last week, President Granger announced that elections will be held on March 2, 2020. However, he is yet to issue a proclamation or dissolve Parliament in accordance with the Constitution.
To this end, Ramsammy on Sunday posited that “until he issues a proclamation dissolving Parliament and naming a date for elections, the Guyanese people are suspicious that Granger and APNU/AFC are up to no good, working on another fanciful way to disregard March 2 as E-Day”.
According to the former Minister, it is not just the PPP Opposition and its supporters demanding that Granger issues the proclamation now, but the international community along with local stakeholders are also asking for a proclamation to declare that E-Day is really March 2.
Among the local stakeholders making that call are the Bar Association, the Private Sector Commission (PSC), various chambers of commerce around the country, religious organisations, trade unions, other political parties, such as A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and so on.
The international community including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the International Centre for Democracy (ICD) have also warned the Guyanese Leader to issue the proclamations now.
“It seems the only ones who are not bothered about the non-issuance of the proclamations are Granger and his colleagues in APNU/AFC,” Ramsammy stated.
He pointed out that since the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the APNU/AFC coalition, the Government has been deceitful, causing confusion and chaos, and trying every which way, including blatantly lying and concocting fanciful stories, in order to invalidate the motion and prevent the hosting of early elections, which were due on or before March 21, 2019.
“Ten months after the December 21, 2018 NCM, David Granger, the squatting President, in a long-delayed address to the nation, announced that March 2 is the earliest possible date for elections. Granger ignored precedent and did not issue a proclamation to dissolve Parliament or to name a date for election. His refusal to make a proclamation deliberately created confusion, but also provides APNU/AFC with an opportunity for further delays, beyond March 2, 2020,” he noted.
The former Minister contended that for those who are accustomed to the “trickery and deceit” by the coalition over the last nine months, the announcement of March 2, 2020, as the “earliest possible date” for election, without the necessary proclamations, heightens suspicion that Granger, APNU/AFC and even the Elections Secretariat are “cooking-up an excuse to invalidate the March 2 E-Day proposal”. This, he noted, will essentially reject the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chair, Justice Claudette Singh’s, assertion that the body is ready for elections.
“If Granger is honest about the March 2 E-Day proposal, then why not issue the proclamations immediately,” he questioned.
Ramsammy pointed out that the President’s sycophants insist Granger does not have to issue the proclamation for E-Day and Parliament’s dissolution now because E-Day must be within three months of the dissolution of Parliament. He added that they argued that Granger has up to December 2 to issue the declarations. But according to the former Minister, this is farcical.
“…he can issue the proclamation now naming E-Day and the dissolution of the Parliament to take effect on December 2. He does not need to wait for December 2 to issue the proclamation unless he is retaining an option to change the date,” Ramsammy stressed.
He went on to opine that given the trickery and deceit Guyana has witnessed since December 21, 2018, there is “genuine suspicion” that the Granger-led APNU/AFC is presently engaged in an intense search for an excuse to abandon the March 2 E-Day announcement.
“E-Day, March 2, 2020, is already one year after the deadline for the elections necessitated by the December 21, 2018, NCM. In fact, the proposed E-Day is almost 15 months since the NCM. It is an inconvenient truth, but Granger has, in effect, illegally suspended the NCM, totally breaching the Constitution. Only dictators do that,” the former Minister insisted.
Ramsammy further outlined that one clue that the coalition Administration plans to push E-Day beyond March 2 is the rogue behaviour of the Elections Secretariat, which he said appears to serve Granger and not GECOM.
He noted that the Keith Lowenfield-led Secretariat issued a proclamation to start the Claims and Objections (C&O) for the Preliminary Voters’ List (PLE) for 49 days when GECOM itself agreed that it will be 35 days.
Added to this, he said that GECOM has also advised people that every citizen must appear in person at a GECOM office or their names would be taken off the voters’ list – something that was never agreed to by the seven-member Commission.
Ramsammy said this move comes on the heels of not just the Chief Justice, Roxane George, declaring it illegal to remove names from the voters’ list but also the Secretariat inserting these unapproved changes in the proclamation and dishonestly getting an unsuspecting Chair to sign it.
On this note, he called for the GECOM Chair to take a firm stance to expose and stop the Secretariat’s rogue posture.