President back home; meeting with Jagdeo likely soon

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President David Granger returned to Guyana Tuesday evening from his third round of chemotherapy treatment in Cuba and his office is working to set up a meeting with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo following the passage of the No-Confidence motion on December 21st.

The President’s office had told Jagdeo a meeting with the Head of State would be arranged upon his return to Guyana. The President is undergoing treatment in Cuba for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a form of cancer.

The President left the country four days after his Government collapsed with the passage of a No-Confidence motion.

The day after the vote, the President’s office acknowledged the “passing” of the vote and the President said he was “anxious” to meet Jagdeo and to work even more closely with the opposition.”

After a robust debate, 33 members voted in favour of a motion that the National Assembly has no confidence in the Government; 32 voted against.

At the end of the vote, the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland, declared that the motion had been “carried” or approved.

The Government is now challenging the vote, saying 34 votes constitute a majority and therefore the vote was not approved. It has written to the Speaker to ask him to review and reverse the decision. If that fails, the Government will move to the court.

In his New Year’s Day message, the President again repeated that the Government would abide by the Constitution, but he included a reference to the courts, saying it is the court which protects institutions and the system of democracy.

“The National Assembly and the Judiciary are the bedrock of our democracy. Your government remains committed to upholding the Constitution, preserving the rule of law and guaranteeing a safe, stable, orderly and peaceful country,” he stated.

The President, however, maintained the importance of dialogue to settle the issues.

“Recent developments in the National Assembly have created opportunities for enhanced political cooperation.

“Meetings between the Government and Opposition will take place in the new year to discuss and determine the way forward for our country,” the President stated.

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