President David Granger says that the meeting today between the government and the opposition ended successfully with the two sides reaching agreement on some issues.
Granger provided an update minutes after the one-hour-long meeting between himself and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo ended, in a live video which is available on the Ministry of the Presidency’s Facebook page.
The two men and members of their teams met as scheduled at 11am at the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP). The meeting was held at the behest of Jagdeo following the controversial passage of the no confidence motion on December 21. The vote was declared passed by Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland following a `yes’ vote from now former government MP Charrandass Persaud.
In the video the president informed that two main issues were discussed. The first is the functioning of the National Assembly and the functioning of government.
“Neither of these institutions, the legislative branch and the executive branch could be allowed to fail. Public services have to be delivered. Public order has to be maintained and therefore the two sides reached broad agreement on how these two institutions…will continue to function,” he said.
The president said that the second important issue discussed was General and Regional elections. He said he defended government’s legal recourse in the courts in order to determine the validity of the no confidence vote as “quite legitimate” adding that there is no intention on the part of the government to derail the constitutional or legislative process.
In this regard, he said that the two sides have agreed that they will continue to work together to engage GECOM “to ensure that elections are held within the administrative capabilities of the Guyana Elections Commission.”
“I would say in conclusion that we have had a successful engagement. Both the Leader of the Opposition and the President are concerned about the situation. We would like to assure the public in Guyana that we are working to a solution which they will be satisfied with. The public interest is of paramount concern”, he said.
Members of Jagdeo’s team declined to speak to the media who were standing outside the compound. Jagdeo is expected to provide an update on the outcome of the talks at a press conference to be held at 2pm today.
Link to the video:
At a press conference at 2 pm, Jagdeo did not provide details on agreements reached with Granger but said that elections have to be held before April 30 this year otherwise the government would be illegitimate. He added that the two Chief Whips would meet with GECOM to determine readiness for the elections and would then decide if they have to return to the National Assembly for an extended date for the elections.
The two leaders were accompanied by key advisers.
According to the Department of Public Information, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC;, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan; Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally; Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge were also present for the Government side.
Opposition members of Parliament, Juan Edghill, Gail Teixeira, Anil Nandlall, Odinga Lumumba, Dr. Frank Anthony, Pauline Sukhai and Irfaan Ali accompanied the Opposition Leader.
(Photos provided by the Ministry of the Presidency).