ANOTHER DEADLOCK: Meeting with President, GECOM ends without elections date

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A meeting between President David Granger and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Friday ended without a definite date for elections, with Government commissioners insisting on house to house registration that could put a date for elections at year end.

Opposition Commissioners continued to resist the idea of house to house registration to produce a new voters list; they insisted that elections can be held on April 29, a date before the life of the current voters list expires.

The Commission now has to continue its meetings to come to a compromise with the President repeatedly urging an elections date at “the shortest possible time,” Commissioners told reporters after the meeting.

President David Granger in a statement following the meeting said, “We did not feel that the differences are irreconcilable, but there needs to be a fresh search for agreement between the competing opinions in the Commission.”

The President further noted, “As far as we are concerned on the Government side, we did not receive the sort of guidance that we need to enable me as President to make a proclamation to actually announce a date, but we have kept the door opened and we have asked the Guyana Elections Commission to go back to the drawing board to examine how quickly and how easily they could arrive at a consensual position…”

There are just 13 days remaining before the deadline for the holding of general elections. The passage of the No Confidence motion on December 21 means elections must be held by March 21.

President David Granger meets with GECOM [Ministry of the Presidency photo]
An extension of the deadline can only be made by a Parliamentary vote and the Government needs the support of the Opposition to do so.

The Opposition has accused the Government of pussyfooting on the issues and intends to drag out the time as much as it can.

The Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has declared that he would only agree to an extension of the deadline if he has a firm date of when elections would be held and that date, he emphasised, must not be too far from the constitutional deadline.

The meeting was attended by the Chairman of GECOM, Justice James Patterson, and all six Commissioners.

Also included in the meeting were the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and his deputy Roxanne Meyers.

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