The Leader of the Opposition has done the responsible thing, acting in the interest of the Guyanese people. Recognising that President Granger and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) deliberately violated the timeline for elections to be held by March 21, 2019, in accordance with the No-confidence Motion passed by the Parliament on December 21, 2018, Bharrat Jagdeo has written to the President indicating that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will support a parliamentary motion, enabling a two-thirds majority in Parliament, for the holding of elections beyond the March 21, deadline, as long as the President agree to a date by April 30. The willingness to compromise and extending the olive branch have been made once again by the PPP. Will the President demonstrate he has the interest of Guyana at heart or will he continue the foolish conspiracy to hold on to power?
The belief that Granger and APNU/AFC never intended to give up power, even if they had to seize power by a coup d’etat, is now being tested. Unless President Granger acts in good faith and negotiate a date with the opening presented by Jagdeo, Guyana will have an illegal Government and a dictator as President by March 21. While Granger might see this as keeping his ruthless promise to his supporters to bring Burhamism back to Guyana, the wiser thing to do is to accept the olive branch from the Leader of the Opposition.
The Jagdeo-olive branch is a face-saving way for President Granger to avoid the APNU/AFC-precipitated constitutional crisis. By March 21, Guyana will have a political party illegally holding on to power if President Granger squanders yet another opportunity to do the right thing. With only 16 days remaining in the constitutionally mandated 90-day period for elections, playing wicked judicial games, APNU/AFC has essentially achieved its goal to create a constitutional crisis, leaving Guyana totally in the arms of dictatorship, arguing the dictatorship is doctrine of necessity. Now only a meeting convened by the President with the Leader of the Opposition to set a mutually agreed date for election and agreed to by a two-thirds majority can prevent this absolute crisis. Bharrat Jagdeo has established a face-saving platform for President Granger. He must accept it in the interest of the nation.
The meeting must instruct GECOM to carry out its constitutional mandate of conducting elections by the date agreed to by the two leaders and approved by Parliament with a two-thirds majority. Setting the date for elections in accordance with the law is not the responsibility of GECOM, conducting the elections is GECOM’s mandate. The meeting today must clearly insist on GECOM to meet its mandate. There is a list that was used only a few months ago for an election that was praised. GECOM itself insisted in late December that it was able to conduct a General and Regional Elections within the constitutionally mandated date. This was until GECOM decided to take political sides and become complicit with the conspiracy to frustrate the country’s ability to hold the elections. GECOM’s immediate announcement in the face of the Leader of the Opposition’s letter to the President that it would not be possible to hold elections by April 30 is a subversive act, intended to provide the President with cover to reject the Leader of the Opposition’s proposal.
The Leader of the Opposition was absolutely correct in refusing to meet the President unless the meeting is to discuss a date for election. APNU/AFC and their surrogates in the media, both print and TV and social media, have condemned the Leader of the Opposition for refusing to meet the President. The Leader of the Opposition has never refused to meet with the President to discuss the election date and he has said so for months. His letter to the President on Monday is proof of that willingness.
For four years now, the President has abrogated his mandate to regularly meet the Leader of the Opposition to discuss matters of national interest. This is not the time for him to suddenly wake up and want to discuss important matters, it is the time to discuss one matter, the election date. The letter from the Leader of the Opposition proposing a meeting with a recommended election date now provides David Granger with a conundrum – does he want to serve in the nation’s interest or does he want to keep his promise to his supporters that he will be Guyana’s newest dictator, in the same ruthless way as Forbes Burnham, his hero, was?