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Western diplomats urge all abide by Caribbean Court ruling

The United States, Britain, and the European Union (EU) on Monday urged all the players in Guyana to abide by the “definitive” orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) related to the holding of general elections.

“The Caribbean Court of Justice – Guyana’s Supreme Court – has spoken. It is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by its ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. We urge everyone to do so expeditiously,” the top diplomats said in a joint statement.

In the statement issued by American Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, and European Union Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videtič, the envoys described the orders issued by the Trinidad-headquartered CCJ as “definitive”.

After the CCJ’s orders issued last weekend, President David Granger said he was prepared to appoint a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Monday providing he could reach agreement with the Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on an list of acceptable candidates.

However, sources said the PPP was unlikely to agree to President David Granger’s desire for Jagdeo to include Kesaundra Alves and Retired Justice Claudette La Bennett in his list of nominees.

The Guyana government has since acknowledged the CCJ’s ruling that it is a “caretaker” administration, but reiterated that Cabinet’s status was still unchanged. According to the CCJ, in referring to the Guyana Constitution, Granger and the Cabinet ought to have resigned following the passage of last December’s no-confidence motion and the President and the government remain in office until general elections are held.

The President has said he first wants a GECOM Chairman appointed after which that elections management authority would advise him when it would be ready to hold credible general elections. It is only then, he has said, he would dissolve the National Assembly and name an election date.

Prior to Retired Justice James Patterson’s resignation from the post of GECOM Chairman after the CCJ had said his unilateral appointment by Granger had been flawed and unconstitutional, Patterson and the three pro-coalition elections commissioners had decided that house-to-house registration would first be held before the next general elections.

President Granger has also called the voters’ list bloated with more than 200,000 names and defective, a situation he has said would disenfranchise thousands of youths.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has, however, countered saying that the process of continuous registration, constant updating of the national register and the voters’ list and a period of claims and objections would help santise the list.