Shuman tells Carter Center team elections can be held before end of year

From left to right are: Anne Marlborough – Legal analyst;  Carlos Valenzuela – Senior electoral advisor to The Carter Center;  Nicholas Jahr – Political and Electoral Analyst;  Brett Lacy, Associate Director of the Carter Center Democracy Program;  John Flores, General Secretary, LJP;. Yvette Irving – LJP Member  and Davon Van-Veen, LJP Member.
From left to right are: Anne Marlborough – Legal analyst;  Carlos Valenzuela – Senior electoral advisor to The Carter Center;  Nicholas Jahr – Political and Electoral Analyst;  Brett Lacy, Associate Director of the Carter Center Democracy Program;  John Flores, General Secretary, LJP;. Yvette Irving – LJP Member  and Davon Van-Veen, LJP Member.

Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Lenox Shuman yesterday told  a visiting team from the Carter Center that general elections can be held before the end of the year.

The Atlanta, Georgia, US-based group which has been associated with democratic reforms and governance here for around 30 years has been sounding out political parties and other stakeholders on the way forward in the aftermath of the December 21, 2018 motion of no confidence against the APNU+AFC government.

In a statement last night on its meeting with the Carter Center team, the LJP said that Shuman stressed the need for constitutional reform, anti-corruption legislation and his anticipation that general elections can be held before the end of the year.

Shuman, who led the meeting via Skype,  was reported as saying: “I do believe that the President abdicated his duties in reverting to the GECOM. The constitution of Guyana is clear that the President is the sole person who has the authority to proclaim on elections date. By reverting to GECOM, he has now permitted the infiltration of partisan elements in the Commission to dictate to the nation, what process is needed and when elections can be held. While we understand that any effort to act objectively by Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh can be seen as partisan, we hope that the President can proclaim a date before the end of the year, they can convene parliament and get an extension and we can move this country forward. It is our hope that the two political leaders can show the kind of leadership we know they are capable of and the country is looking for to move this process forward rather than sticking to hardline positions. The only losers in such circumstances are the people of Guyana.”

The statement added that John Flores, General Secretary of the LJP, told the Carter Center group that due to time and geography, the 1st Nations (Indigenous) Guyanese and the people who are engaged in the mining and forest industry would have been severely affected and disenfranchised in the House to House Registration had the exercise been allowed to continue.  That exercise was brought to an early end by the GECOM Chair.

While underscoring the unpreparedness of GECOM in respect to the conduct of the previous Chair, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, Flores also pointed out that the general perception is that the government is using every means possible to delay the elections.