…with false precedence
Some PNC diehards, with their Government having 9 days to go before they’re CONSTITUTIONALLY ILLEGAL, have moved from defending their refusal to follow the dictates of Art 106 (6) and pack their bags to claiming that the PPP “did the same thing” following the 1997 elections!! And that, like the PNC are doing now, the PPP squatted in office till 2001, when new elections were held.
Now, if this isn’t a worse nonsense on stilts than claiming 33 isn’t greater than 32, what is??!!
Let’s go back to the 1997 elections, shall we? We know the PNC immediately disputed the results of that election, which was certified by a host of international observers – including the Carter Center – who gave it their seal of approval. Sure, there were some hitches – like some PNC elections officers not signing their statements of poll – but nothing to change the elections’ result. The PPP won!!
But after PNC violent street protests, Caricom conducted a FORENSIC Audit of the votes AND AGREED THE ELECTIONS WERE KOSHER!! The PNC still wasn’t satisfied, and their luddites are focusing on the subsequent challenge in the courts brought by one of their proxies, Esther Perreira, that the requirement for voters to show their national ID card in order to vote was in contravention of Art 59 and Art 169, and was “ultra vires”.
Fact is, this requirement for having an ID to vote was contained in legislation (Act 22 of 1997) passed unanimously by the PPP and PNC!! But while the Judge (Claudette Singh) eventually ruled that the requirement was illegal, she explicitly said she was “unable to hold that illegal voting by persons who were not registered and were without voter ID cards would have per se affected the results of the elections.” Later on, she reiterated the point: “I am unable to make a positive finding whether those unlawful acts or omissions per se might have affected the results.”
So it was on a technicality that ID cards weren’t necessary for voting that Justice Singh ruled “the 1997 elections were not conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act Chapter 1:03 and Articles 59 and 159 of the Constitution of Guyana.”
And she ruled that elections be held in three months. Which it was, and which the PPP won once again!!
On the claim that the PPP “held on to power illegally”, the court only made its ruling on Jan 15, 2001, and elections were held on 19th March 2001 – which is about when the Herdmanston Accord had already mandated!!
Will the PNC please stop dilly-dallying and face the polls?? Back in 2001, the PPP didn’t even appeal!
One of David Granger’s vaunted claimed virtues is he’s a “churchman” – one who not only attends church (Anglican), but lives by its precepts. In fact, a spokesperson went into a tizzy after the Opposition Leader suggested the President’s recent ducking of a second letter to GECOM’s Chair was “fraudulent”, and insisted that, as a “Christian”, his leader is incapable of such behaviour.
Well, the Anglican Church – along with the Catholic Church and other Civil Society bodies – has just taken a position at complete variance with the President’s on the latter’s sleight of hand to fob off onto GECOM the responsibility for setting a date for elections. After skittling down the President’s excuses one after another, the group declared:
“Deferring the exercise of Presidential responsibility to set the date for elections to such time as GECOM determines its own readiness is unacceptable. The Constitution mandates GECOM to be ready within ninety days, and there is no provision that allows the President to amend that provision as a pretext for not announcing a date for national elections.”
A homily for President Granger. King Canute felt so powerful he commanded the ocean waves to roll back as he sat on his chair on the beach in full regalia!
The drenched king ruefully conceded he couldn’t disobey the “eternal laws”.