Talks between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo earlier today did not result in an amicable agreement even as the former president insists that there is sufficient time between now and April 30th for GECOM to prepare itself and hold elections.
“We did not get past the first item on the agenda which is a date for elections,” Jagdeo told reporters outside of the Ministry of the Presidency moments after the meeting came to an end. He said that Granger indicated that he is prepared to discuss the date but GECOM has to be ready.
“I said to him clearly you are the president of Guyana, you have a duty to uphold the constitution of Guyana. GECOM is a creature of the constitution, GECOM cannot override the constitution and therefore unless we have a discussion on the date I am not prepared to move forward on any other issue on the agenda,” he told reporters. GECOM has indicated that the earliest date for elections is July.
Jagdeo insists that his April 30th date is “reasonable” and stressed that after March 21st, the government becomes unconstitutional.
He informed too that the president indicated that he has to engage GECOM on the issue and thereafter another meeting will be held. While he is inclined to attend another meeting, Jagdeo said that it doesn’t make much sense to hold on after March 21. No timeframe was given for the next meeting.
Jagdeo in response to an invitation to attend the meeting has proposed that the meeting focus “exclusively on the date for these elections” and also proposed several conditions, which included the naming of a date for elections before the expiration of the validity of the present voters’ list on April 30, 2019 and a cessation to the awarding of contracts by the state after March 21, 2019.
In the letter sent to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Jagdeo proposed for the consideration of President Granger that,
i) The date of the general and regional elections to be held before expiration of the present voters’ list on April 30, 2019;
ii) No new contracts to be awarded by the State, including Regional Democratic Councils, and, State-owned corporations after March 21, 2019;
iii) No new agreements, loans, grants, land leases, or any such agreements or contracts after March 21, 2019, that bind Government;
iv) No abuse of State resources for partisan activities/purposes;
v) Access to the state-owned media by all the contesting political parties.
Harmon replied to Jagdeo yesterday and said that the contents of Jagdeo’s letter were conveyed to the President and he agreed to a meeting where “issues raised” in the letter would be discussed.
Jagdeo and his team arrived for the meeting almost 15 minutes late.