“I’ve dealt with that issue 100 times. My position is clear on it. I’m not dealing with it again. I’ve dealt with it 100 times, my position stands”, said President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday when questioned about recent moves to support a third term for him.
A shadowy group dubbing itself the “Guyanese Coalition For Jagdeo Third Term” (GCFJTT) has been distributing flyers and buttons campaigning for Jagdeo to be supported for a third run for the presidency. Asked about this at a hastily called media briefing at the International Conference Centre at Liliendaal yesterday, Jagdeo declared that his position on the matter stands.
He has repeatedly stated that he has no interest in running for a third term.
When the issue was raised at a recent dinner with members of the private sector, Jagdeo told the gathering that the matter was one which had been subject to much speculation. “I have no interest in another term… all that speculation out there is just that, speculation. The media has been in a frenzy,” Jagdeo said. The President had opined that the speculation might be triggered by persons who fear that he may endorse a particular individual. He had made a similar announcement at a press conference while he was in Trinidad attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April.
However, some political parties, like the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) clearly do not believe the President and have been campaigning against his running for a third time.
“The WPA hopes and expects that the PPP/Civic would not engage in any adventurist process aimed at subverting the Constitution and its term limits.
The WPA advises, well in advance, schemes to subvert and/or undermine the Constitution would be most unwise”, the party said in a statement recently. It said that the warning was prompted by renewed indications of a possible referendum on the question attached to upcoming local government polls.
Last week the PNCR reiterated that it will never support an amendment to the constitution to allow Jagdeo to contest the Presidency for a third term.
At its weekly press briefing, the Party said for the President to be granted a third term in office, the Opposition would first have to agree to this and emphasized that this will not happen.
Additionally, PNCR Leader Robert Corbin, had earlier told Stabroek News that whoever was responsible for the actions of the group was “out of touch with reality because it will never happen.”
Alliance For Change Leader Raphael Trotman had said that the issue of extending the term limit was not something that the AFC would support.
“We don’t believe that the incumbent has the right to seek an extension”, Trotman stated.
Meantime, the PPP, through its General Secretary Donald Ramotar, has said that it is not in any way affiliated with the group and its activities.
He had called the actions of this group mischievous given Jagdeo’s repeat denials of having an interest in contesting for the presidency for a third time. Officials employed at the Office of the President have also stated that they are unaware of the person/s behind the campaign.
The two-term limit was set during an extensive reform of the Burnham constitution a decade ago and observers say the PPP/C would be unable to credibly defend a change just to facilitate Jagdeo.
The members of the group who are campaigning for a third term for the Head of State remain unknown.