President David Granger will, tomorrow, meet the Chairman and Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at a consultation to be held at 11:00 hours at the Ministry of the Presidency, a release from the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP) said today.
This meeting is crucial as the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo is insisting that an early date for general elections – before April 30th – be set while GECOM has given July as the earliest date that it can be ready. Based on the December 21, 2018 motion of no confidence, elections should be held by March 21. For this date to be extended, the support of the opposition PPP/C would be required in Parliament.
The MoTP release said that in a letter addressed to GECOM’s Chairman, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, writing on behalf of the President invited Justice Patterson and the Commissioners to a meeting on the readiness of GECOM for the conduct of General and Regional Elections.
“I write on behalf of His Excellency the President on the issue of the readiness of GECOM for the conduct of General and Regional Elections,” the letter said, while reminding that President Granger in his February 25, 2019 letter to Justice Patterson inter alia invited him (Justice Patterson) to consultations on GECOM’s readiness for the conduct of General and Regional Elections in 2019.
“His Excellency now wishes to invite you and the Commissioners to the aforementioned consultation on Friday 8th March, 2019 at 11:00 hours at the Ministry of the Presidency Vlissengen Road, Georgetown. I trust that in the National Interest you give this matter the urgent attention it deserves,” the Minister of State said in the letter.
Yesterday, following a meeting with the Opposition Leader, President Granger made it clear that GECOM is an autonomous, independent agency while reminding that the Constitution does not empower the President, Executive or anyone to interfere, intervene or intrude in the work of the Commission.
“Of course, based on what will take place in the courts, the National Assembly, we are moving towards elections, but GECOM is in charge of elections not the Executive. I cannot decide when elections will be held; GECOM has to advise,” the Head of State said.