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Jagdeo, Granger lock horns on elections after house-to-house registration

Flashback: Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo (left) and President David Granger.

Even as Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo expects that practically general elections should now be held in three months, President David Granger Tuesday afternoon vowed that general elections would be held only after a new voters’ list is created from house-to-house registration.

“We cannot proceed on the current list of voters. It is outdated and corrupted. It may hold as many as 200,000 incorrect entries. What’s more, those who have reached the age of 18 years since the last election are not on it.

“The Constitution entitles all citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote. It is a democratic imperative that house-to-house registration be completed swiftly so we can have an election at the earliest opportunity.

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Patterson, has previously informed me that the Commission will be ready to hold elections in November 2019,” the President said in an address to the nation.

The President made it very clear that elections would be held “after the completion of house-to-house registration” and that “I now await a recommendation for a specific date from GECOM and I will then issue a proclamation. We will be heading to the polls and there’s going to be a crucial choice for our citizens.”

Insisting that the Granger-led administration was living on “borrowed time” and “squatting on government”, the Opposition Leader accused the President of again flouting Guyana’s constitution. He said the PPP would again mount a stiff international lobby to pressure Granger to stick with early elections.

“We are going to urge the international community…Granger’s lives in a bubble. He hangs on with his $%^&#% cabal on the government at all costs,” Jagdeo said. “The elections are now governed by the constitutional provision that has kicked in… three months it says and that is three months since November,” Jagdeo added. He hoped that the President would come back to “the reality of life”.

Jagdeo stressed that he and his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) would not accept that “this government stands above the CCJ nor the Constitution of Guyana”. “We are reasonable but we are not giving into anything that will run counter to the Constitution and the law,” he said.

The PPP General Secretary stressed that there was “no room for triumphalist behaviour today” while at the same time saying that his party would from Wednesday “enter into full campaign mode”.

The government also lost the appeal at the CCJ as it related to President Granger’s unilateral appointment of the Guyana Elections Commission Chairman, James Patterson. The regional court found that Granger’s appointment without consultation and giving reasons for rejecting 18 nominees by the opposition was flawed, unconstitutional and not in keeping with openness and transparency.

Ahead of next Monday’s sitting of the CCJ to deal with the consequential orders arising from the no-confidence motion and the GECOM Chairman cases, the lawyers from both sides are expected to meet and agree to proposed orders otherwise the court will have to issue orders as they see fit.