After talks, Jagdeo agrees ‘100%’ a Gov’t must be in place

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President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo met on Wednesday for the first time since the National Assembly passed a No Confidence motion against the Government, forcing elections in three months.

Though the Opposition Leader felt the talks could have been held earlier, he welcomed it starting the process towards the holding of elections, which he insisted must be held this year.

Less than two hours after the meeting, the Opposition Leader at his press conference appeared to have toned down his rhetoric that the Government must resign “now.”

While the Constitution says that the passage of a No Confidence motion means the Government must resign, it does not say immediately; the Constitution specifically says the Government should resign after elections are held and a President is sworn in.

Jagdeo embraced the fact that the current Government should remain in place.

“The President made it clear that you cannot have a country without a Government and we agreed with this 100%,” Jagdeo declared at a press conference at his Church Street Office in Georgetown Wednesday afternoon.

He said he made it clear that the job of the Opposition is not to stymie the functioning of the Government.

Public order must be maintained and public services must be delivered, he stated.

At the appointed time, 11:00 hrs Wednesday, Jagdeo arrived at the Ministry of the Presidency for the talks he requested 18 days ago. That was December 21, 2018, when the No Confidence motion was passed.

Upstairs, there was no customary handshake, as the President is receiving treatment for a form of cancer.

President Granger meets with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. [Ministry of the Presidency photo]
At the end of the meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half, the President issued a video statement on the Ministry of the Presidency’s Facebook page.

He stated: “We would like to assure the public in Guyana that we are working to a solution which they will be satisfied with.

“The public interest is our paramount concern.”

After initially saying it would comply with the vote and call elections, the Government has moved to the Court, challenging whether the motion was properly passed; saying the 33 votes in the 65-seat were not enough, that at least one more was needed.

The Opposition asked if the Government would withdraw the court action; it got a negative from the President.

The President said that the move to the court was a legitimate one and insisted that it was not an attempt to subvert the constitution.

The President said there was no intention on the part of the Government to derail the constitutional and legislative process.

The Opposition was concerned about the time it would take for the matters to be dealt with in the Court.

Jagdeo said it could take “forever.”

The two sides agreed on an approach to the Court for the matters to be dealt with expeditiously.

In addition, a joint team – headed by Gail Teixeira and Amna Ally – would meet with the Guyana Elections Commission to determine its readiness to hold general and regional elections.

The Opposition Leader maintained that the Government must only call the National Assembly to deal with matters related to elections but there was no assurance that the Government will do so.

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