Jagdeo will not attend March 6 meeting with Granger

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said he will not attend the March 06, 2019 meeting with President David Granger to discuss funding for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the Constitutional role of the National Assembly in the country’s present situation.

The President in a letter dated February 25 invited Jagdeo to meet him at 11:00hrs on March 06.

The letter sent to the Opposition Leader

“It is a waste of time to go there for another PR [Public Relations] opportunity and I am not going to do that,” Jagdeo told a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office Thursday afternoon.

He said the items listed on the agenda are clearly addressed in the Constitution of Guyana and reiterated that he will not meet with the President unless it is to discuss a date for the next General and Regional Elections.

“Unless election… and the time and elections date is on the agenda, there’ll be no meeting,” the Opposition Leader said.

“I am not going to be showing up for a nice PR opportunity with the President where we shake hands and people believe ‘oh, everything is going fine, we’re in a normal situation” Jagdeo added.

The Opposition Leader further stated that “the Constitution provides for the role of the National Assembly and the Constitution provides for the funding and gives GECOM the discretion to use the funds that they have at their disposal which is a lump-sum.”

Asked whether he believes that his meeting with the President should be given priority in the interest of the nation, Jagdeo said, the Opposition cannot “say for the benefit of Guyana, we will cave in and accede to bullyism and dictatorship.”

He noted that the Government should respect the Constitution.

“Moving this country forward can only be done in a context where we respect our constitution and the laws of Guyana. It can’t be done with impunity when one side believes they can violate every law, every ruling of the court…and when the time comes, use patriotism,” Jagdeo said.

He, however, said he will be writing to the Government to point out his issues which he would like to be placed on the agenda for discussion.

Following the passage of the No-Confidence motion tabled in the National Assembly by Jagdeo on December 21, 2018, the Constitution provides for a date for Elections to be set within 90 days.

This time period, which comes to an end on March 19, 2019, can only be extended with an agreement of two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly.

Jagdeo said the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will not support an extension to the time for the holding of elections.

“We will not at this stage vote with this Government to extend the life of the Government… we will not vote to extend!” he affirmed.

He noted that any extension to the life of the Government will mean a continued abuse of state resources and corrupt practices.

On February 25, 2019, the President also wrote two letters to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

In the first letter, the President acknowledged receipt of a letter sent to him by Chairman of GECOM, retired Justice James Patterson and urged the Commission to commence preparations for Elections.

In the second letter, which was revealed to the media, the President sought to initiate consultations on GECOM’s readiness for the conduct of elections in 2019.

However, the Opposition Leader is accusing the President of fraud as he contended that the first letter was changed after it was recognized that it did not suit the agenda of the Government.

“This overshadows everything else that we’re trying to do in this country. It tells you about the nature of the Government,” he argued.

The Head of State is currently in Cuba where he is receiving treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a form of cancer, and is said to return shortly. His treatment will conclude in May of this year.

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