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first_imgOpposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoCCJ consequential orders…as President commits to abiding by CCJ orders…as Jagdeo proposes urgent meeting with GrangerOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) consequential orders handed down on Friday categorising the APNU/AFC coalition as a “caretaker Government” is a major victory for not only the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), but the country as a whole.The Trinidad-based regional Court reaffirmed that the December passage of the No-Confidence Motion gave effect to Article 106 (6) and (7) which means that the Cabinet, including the President, should resign and call elections in three months. This, according to CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders, means that the Government is now in a caretaker role.According to Jagdeo at a press conference moments after the hearing, “if something (about) this ruling that all Guyana should be proud of, is that the CCJ has finally categorised this Government as a caretaker Government. Nothing else matters. That alone was great for me. If they had only said that and nothing else in the ruling then that would have (still) been a major victory for me, for the People’s Progressive Party and or all of Guyana”.The Opposition has long been insisting that the coalition should be in caretaker mode since the December passage of the motion but the Government consistently refused to acknowledge this, saying that nowhere in the Constitution contained “caretaker” provisions. But Friday’s Court order, Jagdeo said, settled this.“The CCJ has pronounced definitively on this matter. So all of Guyana, we have a caretaker Government now with a diminished role. The CCJ said it must act in that manner, as a caretaker Government and that is has limited legal authority and it must govern the country in a manner consistent with a caretaker Government,” he posited, adding that the coalition is now in Government for the sole purpose of holding elections.Moreover, the Opposition Leader went on to say that he respects the fact that the Trinidad-based Court was wary of the separation of powers and, thus, did not grant his request for the Court to fix a date for the hosting of polls in Guyana.“So (the CCJ says) ‘we’re not telling you which date; you gotta respect the Constitution’… ‘Honour the Constitution in three months and you’re caretaker until elections are held’,” Jagdeo noted.To this end, he pointed out too that the regional Court was clear in its order that like the Government, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is also expected to exercise integrity in carrying out its responsibilities, which is, primarily, to conduct general elections.As such, the Opposition Leader contended that GECOM will now have to uphold the Constitution and prepare for fresh elections within three months, which was triggered by the validity of the No-Confidence Motion.This, according to Jagdeo, strikes at the very heart of the position by the David Granger administration that elections would be held only when GECOM is ready.“So they can do whatever they want and whenever, and only when they’re ready in December then we should go to elections. But the CCJ said ‘no, GECOM has to comply with the Constitution of Guyana’”.On this note, Jagdeo put the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, as well as other staff at the elections commission, on notice that they should be preparing for the hosting of polls in accordance with the Constitution, which calls for elections in three months.Caretaker PresidentBut in a video address to the nation later on Friday, the now caretaker President David Granger still maintains that GECOM, not the executive, is in charge of the elections.“GECOM has to advise the President on its readiness to conduct elections… Credible elections are essential to representative democracy. The credibility of the elections is dependent, in part, on the integrity of the Official List of Electors. I maintain that a contaminated list can vitiate the credibility of elections,” the Head of State posited.The President’s pronouncement is reflective of his Government’s push for the conduct of House-to-House registration. In fact, Chair of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the largest party in the APNU fraction of the coalition— Volda Lawrence, had stated last week that with a new list, the coalition is confident of not only returning to office but also garnering better results at the upcoming polls.But it was recently revealed that a United Nations Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) had found last year that there was no guarantee that a new voter’s list would be more credible.“It is the view of the Mission that there is no certainty that a new voters’ list will have more credibility than the current list and that stakeholders will trust it more. Furthermore, any list created close to the elections will likely be criticised as political motivated,” stated a report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team which visited Guyana in May 2018 to assess the country’s electoral needs.On the other hand, the PPP Opposition had contended that the coalition was using fresh House-to-House registration as a ploy to deliberately delay the hosting of polls so that it could hang on to power longer.But Jagdeo reaffirmed on Friday that his party will not extend the life of the coalition Government.“We have made it clear that that’s out of the question… We will not (extend the life of the Government) because this Government has acted, since December 21st, in bad faith… They have not acted in good faith and now the CCJ has spoken, elections should be held three months. Article 106 (7) makes it clear and we as the others that can contribute to the “two-thirds”, we’re saying we’re not gonna contribute to extend the life of the Government,” Jagdeo told reporters on Friday.Caretaker President David Grangerlast_img

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