Hours after refusing to divulge details of Wednesday’s meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) , the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) nominated election commissioners said they did not submit a written proposal on the shortest possible time Guyanese could go to the polls for fear that that would have led to another delay in naming a date.
At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, PPP Commissioner Sase Gunraj emerged at 4:44 PM and only told reporters that “the Chairman would render a decision at 10:30 tomorrow (Thursday) morning on the date”. “I am not willing to say anything except repeating this- the Chairman will render a decision at 10:30 AM”. He declined to say whether he was pleased with the meeting and whether he had submitted a proposal.
But at 8:30 PM media houses received a joint statement from Gunraj and fellow pro-PPP election commissioners Bibi Shadick and Robeson Benn, defending the decision not to submit a written work plan on the grounds that could have contributed to further delay in GECOM determining when it would be ready to conduct the general and 10 regional council elections.
Guyanese were originally constitutionally due to go to the polls to elect a government of their choice by next year August, but elections are now expected to be held several months earlier due to last December’s passage of an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion. The passage of that motion by 33-32 in the 65-seat National Assembly was subsequently validated by the Caribbean Court of Justice after a lengthy legal battle.
If the government had initially accepted that the motion had been validly passed, elections would have been due the latest by March 2019. The CCJ has since labelled the Granger-led administration an “interim” or “caretaker” government. Granger has conceded that much but he and his Cabinet have refused to resign, and allow the President and government to remain in office until elections are held and a new President is elected.
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall has since asked the High Court to order Cabinet, which continues to hold meetings, to resign.