Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday met with newly-accredited United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch at his Church Street, Georgetown office.
During the meeting, the two discussed a range of issues and at the top of the list was the current political situation the country is facing following the successful passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly back in December and the events that followed.
This meeting with the US diplomat comes on the heels of the Opposition Leader disclosing that he has updated former US President Jimmy Carter on the situation in Guyana
“I did not mentioned it last week that we had a conversation because President Carter said to me he was trying to get on to President [David] Granger, and did not want, as soon as I get the call [to] go in the media and talk about. So I give him enough time for that and I thought it was necessary for Guyanese to know that I received a call and I spoke with him but I prefer to keep a little quiet on the content at this point in time until I hear back from him as to whether he had spoken to President Granger,” Jagdeo revealed at his weekly press conference on Thursday.
It is unclear whether the former US President has since contacted the Guyanese Leader.
Furthermore, the Opposition Leader had noted that he will continue to lobby the diplomatic community here on the treatment of the coalition Government after the constitutional 90-day deadline expires without a date for elections set. The constitutional deadline will expire next Thursday, making the Government illegal and throwing the country into unchartered waters.
In fact, he noted that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has written several international bodies – including the Commonwealth, Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) – asking them not to recognise the coalition Administration after March 21, saying that they have acted “in bad faith” since December 21, 2018.
He noted that these international bodies have acknowledged receipt of the letters but did not indicate their position of the treatment of the Guyana Government post-March 21.
Since the passage of the motion against the APNU/AFC coalition, calls have been made by various stakeholders including foreign diplomats here for the Government to abide by the Constitution.
In fact, earlier this week British High Commissioner Greg Quinn, in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times, said that the clock is ticking on the constitutional three-month deadline for holding elections.
“The Constitution is the supreme law… There is the three-month clock, which is still ticking, it hasn’t been stayed yet…,” the United Kingdom envoy told this newspaper on Monday.
Moreover, representatives from the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) have also echoed similar calls for the Guyana Government to adhere to the Constitution.
In February, the EU’s local mission warned of the need for constitutional compliance, urging in a statement that democratic procedures and the rule of law be respected and upheld. The EU also called for free and fair elections to be held and for Guyana’s Government to follow all requirements outlined in the Constitution of Guyana following the December 21, 2018, no-confidence vote.
The day before, however, United Nations Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka urged the State to demonstrate its integrity and respect Guyana’s Constitution.
“Recent political developments triggered by the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly are a test for Guyana’s strength and integrity with regard to the effectiveness of the rule of law and governance,” Tanaka had said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Lynch during remarks at her accreditation ceremony on Wednesday had recommitted her country’s support to “genuinely free and fair elections” in Guyana.
In response, President David Granger had emphasised that the two countries had built a strong bilateral relationship over the years that was founded on, among other things, “mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”.
But the Government has contended that the coalition has not resigned and President Granger, despite facing mounting pressure to set a date for elections before the March 21 deadline, insists that he has to await guidance from the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) before he executes his presidential responsibility.
Last week, the GECOM Chairman and six commissioners, as well as Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, met with the President. Almost one week later, the Head of State on Wednesday asked GECOM to submit a work plan for elections as soon as possible.
With less than a week before the constitutional deadline expires, the elections body is adamant on going ahead with house-to-house registration, which will conclude sometime in November.