PPP/C ‘open’ to locally-driven constitution reform – Jagdeo

The opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is “open” to constitutional reform once it is locally-driven and transparent, opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo clarified yesterday.

“The process of constitutional reform was always seen as one that would be continuous, an intention that was enshrined in Article 119 (A) of the Constitution. The PPP/C, therefore, remains open to the process of constitutional reform – a process that is locally driven and one that will see the involvement of the widest possible cross-section of stakeholders, including collaboration from international bodies,” Jagdeo said in a statement yesterday.

“We have to ensure that the process by which we arrive at any proposed changes, if any, to the Constitution must be transparent and must find acceptance among all stakeholders,” he added.

Jagdeo released the statement in response to queries on the PPP/C’s position on constitutional reform and the participation of international bodies. The queries followed a presentation at the ninth Turkeyen and Tain Talks on Thursday by PPP/C parliamentarian Anil Nandlall. In his presentation, which Nandlall maintained were his personal views rather than those of the party, he questioned whether the nature and reason of constitutional reform is being driven by the Guyanese people themselves or by foreign influences. He also maintained that more than constitutional reform, Guyana is presently in need of constitutional compliance.

In his statement yesterday, Jagdeo made similar arguments on behalf of the party.

He noted that while his party is prepared to work with civil society, international partners and others through a transparent, nationally-led process that involves all sections of Guyanese society, in determining whether changes should be made to our Constitution, it is very concerned about the silence surrounding “several egregious” breaches of the  constitution by the coalition government.

“These breaches are not limited to matters affecting the Guyana Elections Commission, the judiciary and the functioning of the statutory bodies. The PPP/C expects those advocating for constitutional changes to be just as strident in their criticism and condemnation of these breaches,” he added.

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