UPDATE: Granger announces fresh elections for Guyana after CCJ ruling
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – President David Granger today said voters will be given a new opportunity to elect a government after the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) validated a motion of no confidence against his administration that had been passed in the National Assembly on December 21, last year.
“It is essential that we hold fair, free and credible elections. We cannot proceed on the current list of voters. It is outdated and corrupted. It may hold as many as 200,000 incorrect entries. What’s more, those who have reached the age of 18 years since the last election are not on it”, Granger said, insisting that the elections cannot proceed on the current list.
The Guyana government suffered two major setbacks in its efforts to continue in office as the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the opposition inspired motion of no confidence against it in December last year, was valid..
The CCJ, which is also Guyana’s highest and final court, also ruled that the process through which Reverend Justice (Retired) James Patterson was appointed chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by President Granger, was flawed and in breach of the Guyana Constitution.
In a ruling lasting just over an hour, CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders, said that the parties will meet on June 24 when the possible consequential orders arising from the rulings will be discussed. He said the costs will also be discussed then.
One of the options open to the parties is the provisions within the Guyana Constitution requiring that regional and general elections be held within three months of the defeat of the government on a motion of confidence, unless two-thirds of the National Assembly determined a longer period before the holding of elections.
Granger, who addressed the nation from Bartica, where the coalition government had convene Cabinet for the first time in the region, said the GECOM chairman had previously indicated that the Commission would not be ready to hold elections until November this year, after completing the house-to-house registration.
“I now await a recommendation for a specific date from GECOM and I will then issue a proclamation”, Granger said, adding “we will be heading to the polls and there’s going to be a crucial choice for our citizens.
“A choice to decide the future of our country and, most importantly, the future with regard to jobs, living standards, and education for our children.
“Guyanese will be given the choice to elect a government they trust to continue on this path, to keep Guyana moving forward, to secure a better life for every family with the united APNU+AFC (A partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change) coalition, or risk our future by returning to the past”.
Granger told the nation that his administration respected the legal process and the decision of CCJ, as well as the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
He said the government “did not believe that the no-confidence vote was valid and neither did we believe it reflected the will of Parliament or the Guyanese people.
“We will however accept, and abide by, the Court’s decision,” Granger said in his address, adding it is now clear that the people of Guyana need certainty about the future and a way forward.
Granger said that he would be devoting all his energies until the forthcoming election to serve the people and the country and deliver good governance.
“I call on all Guyanese to remain calm and I assure you that the Government will abide by the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” Granger said.
The main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) whose general secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, had filed the motion of no confidence, has not yet made any statement on the CCJ ruling.