The US-based Carter Center has dispatched a fact-finding mission to Guyana at a time when the Government, the Opposition and their election commissioners are at a stalemate over giving the go-ahead to prepare for general elections.
Earlier Monday, the Carter Center mission met with the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, James Patterson and the three opposition-nominated election commissioners.
The three elections commissioners from the governing A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) did not attend that meeting.
In certain sections of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), there is still lingering suspicion that the Carter Centre helped engineer that party out office in 1992 when the first internationally-certified elections in 28 years was held.
Over at the Ministry of the Presidency, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who is also APNU’s Chairman, led a coalition delegation to the otherwise low-keyed meeting with the Carter Center representatives. The Ministry of the Presidency released two photographs informing that the meeting was held.
The Carter Centre has dispatched the team at a time when both the PNCR-dominated APNU and the AFC are demanding that house-to-house registration be held to purge the list of non-residents and the deceased before general elections are held.
GECOM says house-to-house registration can take as much as nine months. With GECOM unable to prepare for the polls to be held by March 20, 2019 in accordance with the constitutional three-month time-frame, that election management authority says preparations can take about 145 days once the commissioners give the green light.
Lowenfield had said he and his staff had already begun working on scenarios for elections preparations shortly after the no-confidence motion had been passed 33:32 in the 65-seat National Assembly on December 21, 2018.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General Basil Williams on Monday asked the Court of Appeal to grant a stay of two of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire’s rulings on January 31, 2019. Williams also wants a conservatory order to prevent the President and Cabinet from resigning until hearings and determination of the appeals are concluded.
The Chief Justice has ruled that the motion was validly passed by an absolute majority of 33 votes, although then government parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud should not have been a candidate and subsequently a lawmaker because he holds dual – Guyanese-Canadian – citizenship.