‘A categorical no!’ – Jagdeo says PPP will not support extended deadline for elections

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Thursday once more declared that the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will not give the Government the two-thirds majority it needs in the National Assembly to extend the deadline for general and regional elections.

“The answer is a categorical no! We will not support an extension,” Jagdeo told a news conference Thursday at his Church Street, Georgetown office.

His comment follows revelations that the Government has asked the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to seek an order to convene the National Assembly to pass a resolution to extend the time for holding elections.

The CCJ has already ruled that the December 21, 2018, No Confidence motion is valid, triggering the constitutional provision for elections in three months.

But an election date in Guyana can only be extended in the National Assembly with the support of two-thirds of the members; in the Government’s case, it only has a one-seat majority which means it will need the support of the Opposition.

The CCJ will be handing down its consequential orders Friday at 14:00 hrs.

But the Opposition Leader said the orders will not reverse the ruling which validated the No Confidence vote.

With the validity of the motion being upheld, Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana should have kicked in to the effect that the President and the Cabinet should resign. However, the Government continues to meet as a Cabinet as it awaits “clarity” from the CCJ.

Jagdeo is adamant that the constitution is clear.

“I will not question their [Government] ability to read and understand…the language of the constitution is clear. What is it that they don’t understand about that?

“They want to stay in office to steal in this period, not govern, and that is why they’re clinging on in defiance of the constitution,” Jagdeo said.

Meanwhile, Khemraj Ramjattan, the Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) – the second-largest party in the coalition Government – told a news conference Thursday that the CCJ cannot pronounce on the elections date.

“Judges cannot pronounce on a number of matters that the constitution provides constitutional agencies to make determination of, like GECOM- whether it is right to go to an elections.

“All of those things are outside of the arena and parameters of the CCJ or any Judge for that matter,” Ramjattan stated.

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