Was Joseph Harmon, the Director General of the Office of the Presidency giving GECOM a directive when he said that, “The dissolution of the National Assembly (Parliament) will be determined in principle measure by the need for GECOM to get additional resources which it said it wants”? This is also compounded by the fact that he also was adamant that, “I cannot say to you now that there has been a firm decision on the dissolution, the date when that is to take place”. If no dissolution, then what?
If elections are to be held on March 2019 then Parliament has to be dissolved 3 months before and that dissolution should have to be on December 2, 2019. This is accordance with Article 61 which states that “An election of members of the National Assembly under Article 60 (2) shall be held on such day within 3 months after every dissolution of Parliament as the President shall appoint by proclamation.
The President, as we have seen, has made a proclamation with regards to the date for elections but has yet to dissolve Parliament. This process should have been the other way around – the dissolution and then the date for elections. Is there a catch to this reversal?
So far we have seen that the President has, by proclamation on October 1, 2019, appointed March 2, 2020, as the date for General and Regional Elections and in compliance with GECOM has stated that January 10, 2020, is Nominations Day, which, according to the law, should be 32 days before an election, albeit that, this is far in excess of that legal requirement. But so far, no dissolution of Parliament, why?
The PNCR’s Executive Member, Aubrey Norton, at the end of September had made it clear that there is no intention to dissolve Parliament any time soon when he said that “Parliament will be dissolved at the right time”. What is the right time? We have seen that the PNC is adept at delaying and postponing constitutional requirements in complete disregard and blatant violation of our Constitution and CCJ’s orders and yet again, this seems to be their game.
Harmon and Norton have made it no secret that GECOM will once again be used to delay the elections, maybe until it is constitutionally five years after from the date which the National Assembly first meets Article 70 (3). Even beyond? If this was not the case then the President would have dissolved Parliament on December 2.
This type of rigmarole, circumvention and evasion has been the hallmark of the PNC since December 21, 2018. From the Speaker to the law courts to GECOM and to the President, it has been a shameless journey by the coalition to prolong its life. When will this stop, if ever?
We have seen that in other countries with millions of voters, elections have been held almost by the snap of a finger but not in Guyana. The 2019 UK elections is scheduled for December 12, 2019, and was arranged at a short notice in late October this year. The results will be announced the day after, on December 13. The voter population of the UK is over 45 million while we have just over half a million in Guyana. This speaks volume. In the UK, the Government upkeeps the laws, not here!
Moreover, it is not about funds for GECOM since GECOM’s CEO Lowenfield has already stated that$5.3 billion was provided in Budget 2019 and that an additional $3.5 billion was provided through supplementary appropriations in May 2019. Minister Jordan had also reassured GECOM’s Chair Justice Claudette Singh that the Commission will be provided with whatever funds is required for the elections. Therefore, Harmon’s directive is about another delaying tactic brought to fore. No excuse Mr Lowenfield!
In conclusion, the Opposition Leader has made clear and conclusive that there will be no extension of the life of Parliament since the coalition is desperately seeking legal coverage for “all the criminal acts” committed during the period of the passing of the NCM to the naming of the elections date. Nearly one billion dollars in contracts has been approved by Cabinet since then.
Will Granger dissolve Parliament or is his dictatorship now official? Will the potpourri of political parties stand up against this Granger dictatorship?