Gov’t hopes Jagdeo will reconsider decision to meet President

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The government is hoping that Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo will reconsider his decision not to meet with President David Granger.

On Thursday, Jagdeo said he would only be interested in talking with the President if he is ready to discuss a date for general elections.

With no extension agreed to, the constitutional deadline for the holding of new general elections is March 21; as that deadline fast approaches, it has now become clear that the government’s legal challenge will run beyond that timeline.

The government needs the support of the Opposition in Parliament to extend the date for elections, as the constitution stipulates that two-thirds of the National Assembly must agree.

At a press conference Thursday, the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo made it clear that he doesn’t want to talk to the President about anything, unless it is about a date for elections.

The President on Monday invited the opposition leader to meet with him next Wednesday to discuss the National Assembly’s role in the present situation and GECOM’s readiness and requirement for funding. As far as Jagdeo is concerned the National Assembly’s role is clear and GECOM, as an autonomous agency, can use the money it has to run the elections. And so, it was at the press conference Thursday that Jagdeo announced he was not going to attend unless a date for elections is on the agenda.

As far as the government is concerned, that was not the time and place for Jagdeo to respond to the President’s invitation.

“A letter of invitation was sent to the Leader of the Opposition for a meeting with the President on March 6 at 11:00hrs.

“We made that public after the letter was sent to the Leader of the Opposition.

“One would expect that under normal decency and by virtue of democratic behaviour, the Leader of the Opposition would respond to the President indicating whether he would attend that meeting or not, but not to hear in the Media that he has said that he is not attending,” Minister of State Joseph Harmon said in a statement Thursday evening.

Harmon said the government is hoping that in the days before Wednesday the opposition leader will change his mind.

“We have always said that the President is prepared to engage with the Leader of the Opposition on any matter of national interest.

“We consider this to be one such matter and therefore that is why the President invited him.

“So, it is our hope that after mature consideration, the Leader of the Opposition will change that stance which he has taken today and attend the meeting,” Minister Harmon added.

The Attorney General Basil Williams has declined to say what options the President could pursue if the deadline for elections is not extended beyond March 21.

 

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