Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Monday announced that President David Granger has agreed with him early next month after the Guyanese leader returns from Cuba from another round of cancer treatment.
Jagdeo said Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has since written him, stating that the President would be willing to meet with him at a date to be set in January.
Jagdeo said he intends to raise with Granger, among other issues, preparations for general elections by March 21, following the no-confidence motion that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP) won with 33 votes after a government legislator sided with the opposition.
Also expected to be raised in the meeting are the implications of the poor health of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Retired Justice James Patterson in recent weeks, the PPP’s expected caretaker status of the government in light of constitutional provisions and closer political cooperation between the PPP and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-dominated A Partnership for National Unity.
Jagdeo also floated the idea of possibly raising with the President a pre-election political pact that none of them would take campaign contributions from any oil company.
In terms of the caretaker status of the government, the former Guyana President observed that the constitution provides for the President and the Cabinet to resign once the confidence motion is passed by a majority of members and for elections to held within 90 days or such longer period as two-thirds of the National Assembly decided.
He called on government to only be responsible only for routine security and social sector services,and payment of salaries. “Anything outside the routine functioning of the State must come to a halt because the government has fallen. The have diminished authority,” he told a press conference.
While indicating that there would be some investigations if the PPP wins the next general elections, Jagdeo urged public servants to ensure they store all records and documents and stick to the laws as they need to assume a more prominent role in decision-making.
“We will have now enhanced scrutiny are aware that there would be a mad grab…,” said Jagdeo. “I’d say to all the public servants: do not be pressures to do anything illegal… The public servants have a bigger role to play in a caretaker role,’ he said.
In the wake of the PPP winning the no-confidence motion after government back-bencher, Charrandass Persaud of the Alliance For Change (AFC) gave his vote to the PPP, Jagdeo said “this is not a matter that we should be triumphalist about” while he assured A Partnership for National Unity /PNC and Alliance For Change supporters that they would not be discriminated against if the PPP returns to power. “As Guyanese, I say to them too that there is hope for the future. Any government that is formed by the PPP will not be judged by who they voted for.” he said.
Noting that former PNC Chairman, Basil Williams sought to stir up 10-year old concerns about corruption and other issues at a meeting held at Paradise, East Coast Demerara, Jagdeo questioned whether the PPP was expected to sit down with its hands folded and not defend itself against criticisms.