‘Not attracted to cocktails, receptions’ – Jagdeo on returning to presidency

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By Bibi Khatoon

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is still avoiding the question as to whether he will run as the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate for the 2020 General and Regional elections if the ruling on the third term case is favourable.

At a press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo was repeatedly asked the question but only said he is not interested in the formalities that come with the position.

Jagdeo told reporters that “having to go to cocktails and receptions and accrediting ambassadors and having courtesy calls and a whole range of those things that go with the presidency, it doesn’t attract me…I don’t have any desire to be a part of it… what I have a great desire to do is to work or to ensure that people’s lives, the welfare are changed.”

When asked again, the former President said: “figure out for yourself.”

The presidential term limit, which Jagdeo himself signed into law during his presidency which ran from 1999 to 2011, was deemed unconstitutional by former Acting Chief Justice, Ian Chang in a constitutional challenge filed by a private citizen, Cedric Richardson.

Richardson contended that the term limit restricts his right as a qualified elector to elect a specific person to be President. The Appellate Court of Guyana on February 22, 2017, voted two to one that a Presidential term limit is unconstitutional.

The APNU+AFC government took the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which is expected to announce a ruling shortly.

Jagdeo said his job is currently the General Secretary of his party and he has set out the tasks of transforming the PPP by broadening its membership to include African Guyanese, prepare the party to be re-elected and develop policies favourable to all Guyanese.

However, Jagdeo said his party is ready to embrace shared governance for the 2020 elections.

He explained that there are people in Guyana who do not belong to a party or organisation but who have a political view about the future of the country.

“We have to find a model that involves everyone in the future –and not just oil and gas but maybe in a governance setting,” Jagdeo said.

The Opposition Leader added that his party will work with Civil society before the next elections.

Jagdeo said there will also be “a mechanism…to ensure that people don’t feel used, once you get into office that the party that is dominant forgets all about its promises –a mechanism to ensure that they hold the party accountable for the promises.”

Jagdeo said the PPP will outline its policies and any other party which wants to play a part in pursuing the same objectives will have a place at the table.

He assured that he is open to any discussion on shared governance, once it is done genuinely.

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