President Donald Ramotar has accused Stabroek News of being “political” in its call for Local Government Elections (LGE).
“I see a major campaign and your paper has seemed to dropped all pretences of not being political because you seem, on your own, to be carrying out a strong political campaign there,” the President said in his response to a question from Strabroek News during a press conference on Saturday morning at State House.
Stabroek News has announced an initiative to press for local government elections which sees a message being carried daily on its front page.
Ramotar stated that he while he is in support of local government elections he would prefer to have a majority government before it is called.
“This is something I don’t want. I would prefer to go to the local government elections, but I can’t shut my eyes to the political reality that exists and make a bland promise that I will go to local government elections tomorrow as I would have done had we had the majority in the parliament at this point in time, and we would not have been in this position at this point and time”, he said.
He also pointed to the lack of passage of the anti-money laundering (AML) bill as a reason for the delay, hinting again that he would possibly have to go to early general elections if sanctions against Guyana for its failure to pass anti-money laundering legislation hits hard.
“It’s not that we don’t want local government elections but…there is a certain level of uncertainty. I don’t know what will happen if the impact of this anti-money laundering bill hits home very, very hard on our economy and whether we might have to go back and have another mandate I don’t know,” Ramotar asserted.
In an invited comment on the President’s remark, Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud says the PPP/C government consistently tries to politicize positions it is uncomfortable with even if it is as fundamental as the right to have local government elections. He said that the President’s linking of LGE with the government’s minority status in Parliament and the AML shows that the government believes these to be more important than the right of Guyanese to vote in elections twenty years after the last one was held. Persaud said the newspaper will continue to play its part in pressing for the urgent holding of local government elections.