Tuesday’s vote by a majority of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to advise President David Granger that the three-month constitutional deadline for general elections cannot be met is a gross transgression of the constitution of Guyana and must not be allowed to stand.
Under the chairmanship of Justice (rtd) James Patterson, GECOM abandoned its responsibility to begin preparing for general elections the day after the passage of the motion of no confidence against the government on December 21, 2018. Its inaction was no doubt a material aspect of its collaboration with the government in subverting the constitution, particularly article 106 (6). No convincing explanation has been provided to the public why elections were not possible in three months from December 21 considering that local government elections had been successfully held on November 12, 2018 and the voters list was still valid.
The timetable presented to GECOM by the Chief Election Officer of a minimum of 148 days for the staging of general elections is scandalous as is the intent by the four-member government majority to proceed with house-to-house registration when an acceptable list already exists.
Notwithstanding the fact that the government’s intention is to delay general elections for as long as possible, GECOM is a constitutional body not subject to the dictates of the political directorate. It must begin playing the part and provide a realistic and accurate timeframe for elections bearing in mind the supremacy of the constitution.