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President remains open to talks with Opposition, amid protest calls for local polls

Opposition Leader David Granger and President Donald Ramotar

In the wake of Opposition Leader David Granger’s announcement that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would resort to public protests to pressure the government into holding long-overdue Local Government Elections, President Donald Ramotar on Saturday said he remained opened for talks.

“As such, I again extend to you an opportunity at your convenience to meet on these critical issues,” Ramotar told Granger in a letter. He assured that government remain committed to meet with he Opposition on matters of importance to Guyanese.

The Guyanese leader said he would be in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly from September 20 to 30 “during which time my team will remain on standby.”

Granger is already on record as saying that he would be willing to meet with Ramotar, but his message would remain – name a date for LGE, issue the Commencement Order for the establishment of the Local Government Commission and take steps to return the un-assented Local Government Bill to the House for refinement and approval.

 With LGE not being held since 1994, Granger is relying on APNU’s track record of calls for the local polls to be held in accordance with Guyana’s Constitution. Western Nations and civil society organizations have also backed calls for the polls, and in the case of Britain it has pointed out that the failure to do so for such a long time has blemished Guyana’s track record as a democracy and is in violation of the Commonwealth Charter.

The President, in his September 11, 2014 response to Granger’s September 15, 2014 ultimatum had described the Opposition Leader’s posture towards LGE and pledge to support the Alliance For Change’s no-confidence motion that could lead to general election as both ambiguous and contradictory.

Ramotar, in his September 20 letter, chided Granger for abandoning the usual channels of communication and instead resorting to the media. “I must, for the record, express my deep reservation about this media based communication style you have recently adopted in dealing with my Office. There is nothing that my team and I have done to prompt you to disregard our usual format,” said the President.  

The President observed that the media reports Granger’s calls for meetings “with my Administration on other critical issues affecting Guyana.”