Corentyne chamber calls on President to set elections date

The Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce yesterday called on President David Granger to set a date for general and regional elections and to engage opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo to extend the life of the National Assembly.

“Come March 21, 2019, the ninety days stated by the constitution would expire and the government would become illegal and no self-serving interpretations of the constitution can change that,” the Chamber said in a statement, which addressed the fallout of the passage of a no-confidence motion against the government last December.

“The buck stops at the President and not the Chairman of GECOM [Guyana Elections Commission]. We are calling on the president to respect the constitution he [is] sworn to uphold,” it added.

With the passage of the motion, the constitution requires the holding of elections within three months or until a time agreed by two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly. However, the validity of the motion’s passage is being challenged in court by the government. After losing its initial challenge in the High Court, the government is pursuing appeals in the Court of Appeal.

The Chamber also stated that it is appalled at the “fancy interpretations” being given to a simple constitutional issue. “Through the constitution of Guyana, the government got 90 days to call new elections. This situation is what the coalition is finding difficult to come to grips with,” it said, while further emphasising that “There is absolutely no way it can be business as usual,” contrary to claims made by the administration.

The Chamber pointed out that businesses in Berbice are in the doldrums, especially since thousands of lost their jobs due to the closure of the Skeldon and Rose Hall estates. “With the present unstable political environment, our economic situation in Berbice and Guyana as a whole will only deteriorate further,” it added.

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