GECOM Chair Justice (retired) Claudette Singh finally ended her Hamlet-like agonising (“to announce or not to announce”) elections timelines! And allowed that GECOM will be ready to hold elections at the end of February 2020. To continue with the analogy from yesterday, she didn’t have to cut the baby of elections into two but only because the PPP, which returned democracy to Guyana in 1992, decided that democracy was more important than coming out into the streets like the PNC to protest the traducing of the Constitution by Granger and Co.
Does anyone out there believe the PNC would’ve been as patient with the patently ridiculous manoeuvres they deployed to delay the 3-month NCM elections date by a full year, if it were the PPP?? We saw the PNC in 1997 unleash violence in the streets when they only CLAIMED the elections were rigged – and forced the PPP to truncate their term of office by 2 years. Now once again, the PPP has gotten the short end of the stick for observing the norms of parliamentary democracy and not resorting to PNC-type actions.
This PNC Government life has now ended…but don’t expect them to act in any way different than if they had just gotten a new mandate to govern. And that’s exactly how they’ll view the GECOM Chair’s date: as a licence for Granger to go even beyond the end of Feb date and be brazen enough to proclaim elections in May 2020. Imitating Burnham’s brazen post-1968 riggings.
But today is a new day, where the US and western interests are now economic with the discovery of oil. They can’t afford to encourage an undemocratic government – especially when they’ve pulled out all the stops against one usurper next door in Venezuela. So, to their credit, the US, UK and the EU finally broken their silence. They fired the following broadside against the PNC Government:
“However, we deeply regret that by surpassing September 18, the Government is currently in breach of the Constitution following its failure to adhere to the decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 18 June and its subsequent orders”.
This situation comes at great cost to the people of Guyana. The prevailing political uncertainty undermines Guyanese institutions, compromises economic opportunities and delays development across all areas— including infrastructure, education, health, and social services. It also hinders our ability to support Guyana’s development needs.
We therefore call upon the President to set an elections date immediately in full compliance with Guyana’s constitution”.
But that can’t be any old date. “Full compliance” means elections by Sept 18. But, of course, that’s impossible. The PPP Commissioners suggested November.
Nothing later will do!!
…and what now??
The PNC Executive – the President and Cabinet – is now illegal. The “Government” – which isn’t coterminous with the Executive— continues since there are governmental functions which must be maintained for the nation’s business to continue. In Guyana, the Executive has unfortunately has dominated the Government like a colossus – ever since Burnham created the “Executive Presidency” to pander to his megalomania – and folks conflate the two.
Guyanese must look at the model at Westminster where Permanent Secretaries take care of the minutiae of quotidian governance. In any case, all of this is handled through explicit “Caretaker Conventions”, which Granger and company should get familiar with. What it means for sure is that all the so call “outreaches” must cease forthwith. And all those high-priced fancy SUV’s purchased since June 18, must be returned immediately.
ExxonMobil would be well advised to delay first oil until AFTER the elections, so as not to be seen as giving any advantage to the caretaker Government.
Caretakers can only MAINTAIN the property – not collect rentals to be used!!
Granger has ceased to be a “de jure” President, that is, existing as a result of law, and has become a “de facto” President – i.e. as a result of fact other than law.
In his case, the fact of shamelessness!!