Home Letters What has changed since December 2000 to make 90 days a Sisyphean...
The constitutional mandate of 90 days or three months for holding elections was not arrived at arbitrarily, there were numerous studies and consultations with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) before that period was agreed upon and duly inserted into Article 106 (7) in December 2000 (Bill No 4 of 2000).
At the time of consideration of this amendment, GECOM itself was only into its seventh month as a permanent constitutional body (Bill No 2 of 2000), continuous registration and the existence of a valid electoral list all year round was not even contemplated. It was envisaged that creation of a valid list as part of the process within the 90-day period was easily achievable. Many extra days and redundancies were added to the process to arrive at 90 days as the maximum needed to deliver credible elections.
Editor, this begs the question of what has changed since December 2000 to make 90 days a Sisyphean task. The answer is nothing! Our population has not grown significantly; technology has improved; the GECOM Secretariat is well established and extremely efficient in conducting registration exercises twice a year, the last being May/June 2018; regular elections have led to a large cadre of persons trained in electoral procedures being readily available. We have a list of electors valid until April 30, 2019. In fact, it may well be argued that General and Regional Elections preparations can be done in a much shorter time frame in the age of ultra-modern communications.
The Guyana Elections Commission Secretariat, the people who do the actual work of holding elections are ready for an election, the executive has prepared work plans and even declared publicly a timeline that placed holding of elections well within the constitutionally-mandated timeframe. “With this no-confidence motion, it means once the date is set, it will be held … it is our constitutional mandate to conduct the General and Regional Elections and Local Government Elections (LGE) whenever they are constitutionally due; so whether it is in the 90 days, then it is GECOM’s responsibility to conduct elections,” said Public Relations Officer (PRO) of GECOM, Yolanda Warde (Guyana Chronicle 27.12.2018).Who or what then derailed the process?
The blame ultimately lies on the shoulders of one man, David Granger, the elected President of Guyana who has mistaken party loyalty as support of his circular logic that involves him and partisan GECOM Commissioners, supported by a unilaterally-appointed Chairman playing make-believe ‘hot potato’ with the responsibility for setting a date for elections in compliance with the Constitution of Guyana.
Mr Granger came into the highest office in our nation touting law, order, dignity and respect; as a direct result of his inability and failure to function in a leadership role, Granger will leave it with its powers and respect considerably diminished. There is no doubt now that Granger will hold on until the grim end, and with him will be many of the men and women of his Administration, they will leave us with a cautionary tale for many generations to come. “The wheel of the world swings through the same phases again and again” ? Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would Be King”.