Jagdeo says more widespread protest after Sept. 18; rejects March 2020 election timeline
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will embark on widespread protests across the country after September 18 if no date is announced for general and regional elections by the end of the year.
Mr Jagdeo also rejected the March 2020 proposed election timeline which was put forward to the Commission by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Secretariat at Friday’s meeting.
“The March 2020 proposal for elections will never ever be acceptable to the People’s Progressive Party,” Mr Jagdeo told the News Room in an invited comment late Friday.
The Opposition Leader has been pressuring President David Granger to name a date for general and regional elections following the ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice that December 21, 2018 No Confidence motion is valid.
The CCJ in its consequential orders urged the President, the National Assembly GECOM to abide by the letter and spirit of the clear constitutional provisions of a No Confidence vote – that elections should be held in three months – which puts the date at September 18.
“They’re looking for widespread protest; we’re [going to] shift the nature of the protest after September 18. We want to be respectful of the decision of the CCJ and we are waiting on September 18…because this Government continues to behave as though it does not have to respect the constitution.
“A caretaker President who is defying a court ruling and the constitution and they’re acting as though it’s business as usual,” Mr Jagdeo told the News Room.
The Opposition Leader reiterated that GECOM should start the process to prepare for elections now by extracting from the National Register of Registrants (NRR) a Preliminary List of Electors (PLE).
He said that list can be posted across the country while GECOM moves to a claims and objections period.
“Those who are not on the old voters list can be registered, people can do their transfers etc, then they compile the revised voters list; they have the fingerprinting sent abroad for cross-matching and see we don’t have any duplicates and then produce the official list of electors.
“Simultaneously, train people and have nomination day. If they follow that path, every single person will have an opportunity to vote and to get on the list and we can have elections long before the end of the year,” the Opposition Leader said.
He explained that this proposal was submitted many times by the Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioners and that a proposal with an October timeline for elections was shared just two weeks ago with GECOM’s Chairman, Justice (Rtd) Claudette Singh.
“The APNU Commissioners keep coming there at every meeting to argue…a delay by merging the database.”
The GECOM Chairman had brought the House to House registration exercise to a premature end on August 31 with promises to merge the data already garnered with the NRR but this decision of a merger is not in favour of the PPP.
“We learn today that of the 370,000 persons they said they registered, that only 120,000 was scanned into a parallel database so that’s just about a third of what they registered and it took them almost a month and a half to scan those names in.
“Just to get the names into the database will take about three months. It’s all a waste of time,” Mr Jagdeo said.
The Elections Commission will meet again next Tuesday.