PPP/C executives, supporters reiterate calls for President to announce election date
…say “unconstitutional Govt” must resign
Hundreds of People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) supporters braved the inclement weather on Friday morning to picket the Ministry of the Presidency, calling on President David Granger to announce a date for elections.
It has been more than half of a year since the APNU/AFC coalition Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion, but to date, the head of State is pussyfooting on announcing an election date nor has he shown any indication that he will do so anytime soon.
The executives of the PPP/C who led the peaceful picket exercise have reiterated the calls for the APNU/AFC-led Government to respect Guyana’s Constitution and more so, the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Speaking to the gathering, Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali related that Guyanese stand united and are willing to fight for the respect of the country’s Constitution and democracy.
“The CCJ has made it clear that the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed and the provisions of the Constitution must kick in,” he told supporters as they stood in the rain in front of the Ministry of the Presidency.
These provisions stipulate that upon the passage of the motion that the Government must resign and announce a date for elections within three months.
But instead of doing so, the Government mounted several legal challenges which ultimately allowed them to stay in office for more than six months. On this note, he stated that the legal battles are over and that the PPP/C is demanding that the Government respect the Court’s decision.
“We allowed the Court process to conclude and now that has concluded, the Government must now respect the ruling of the Court,” Ali contended.
Also addressing the massive crowd, PPP/C Member of Parliament Bishop Juan Edghill stated that the APNU/AFC coalition should resign from the seats that they are clinging onto and demanded that President Granger calls elections “now”.
“That is our demand, nothing else, we are not asking the Government a favour. We are just simply saying respect the Constitution and the successful passage of the No-Confidence Vote which the CCJ has ruled as validly passed, the Government should resign and elections should be held within 90 days. We have a Government that continues to keep Cabinet, distribute lands, give our contracts, they are squatting, squandering the resources of our people and we are saying obey the Constitution and call the elections now”.
Mini-rally at office of the Opposition Leader
After the protest outside of the Ministry of the Presidency, the protestors gathered at the Leader of the Opposition’s office for a mini-rally where General Secretary of the party, Bharrat Jagdeo, charged them to continue the fight for democracy.
“The CCJ made a fateful ruling and that ruling was that the No-Confidence Motion is valid and so Granger’s Government has no other recourse. There is no higher Court, they cannot block this issue any longer, and this Government is illegal and has been illegal since March 21, 2019. The only way they can change this is through elections,”
He reiterated that despite what is clearly laid out in Guyana’s Constitution and the rulings of the CCJ, the APNU/AFC coalition continue to disregard and disrespect the laws that it should be abiding by.
“Today this is a signal that we are not going to tolerate them in Government behaving with impunity. They tried to influence the CCJ, called for a big protest outside of GECOM. Now, Granger says that in a matter of days a Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be named but sometimes they do this and then drag this out, we have to hold him to that (because) it could be another signal to the CCJ to avoid them making a consequential order to make him appoint a chairman by a specific period”.
Jagdeo pointed out that by doing such, it may be seen as a method of having the CCJ think that it would not need to rule on this matter, and should July 12, 2019 pass and the consequential orders do not include a specific time frame for the naming of the Chairman, then President Granger can push back elections for a very long time.
“This protest is not a hostile protest against anyone. We are standing up for Guyana and all Guyanese. Let us see what the consequential orders are and keep preparing for elections. The Government is illegal, nothing can change that,” he added.
He further stated that because of Court battles, the Government has remained in office more than half a year after they were defeated.
The December 21, 2018 No-Confidence Motion tabled by the Opposition Leader saw AFC’s executive member, Charandass Persaud voting in favour of the motion, thus resulting in a 33-seat majority passage.
This, however, was challenged by the Government and the High Court ruled that the motion was validly passed. Acting Chief Justice Roxane George had stated that the Government should step down and an election should be called within three months of the passage but this ruling was again challenged in the Appeal Court.
On that account, two of the learned judges ruled that an absolute majority was needed to pass the No-Confidence Motion while one upheld the ruling of her colleague, Roxane George. This decision was praised by the coalition Government but the PPP challenged the ruling at the CCJ.
It was there that the President of the CCJ, Adrian Saunders, ruled that the motion was validly passed and that 33 votes were needed to do so. In another challenge, he ruled the Justice James Patterson was unconstitutionally elected to the post of GECOM chair.
As such, Justice Saunders urged both the PPP/C and the Government to meet before the consequential orders are laid out. Unfortunately, this did not occur thus forcing Justice Saunders to request written submissions on the consequential orders by July 1 and a decision will be made on July 14.