Even though a date has not yet been set for the overdue Local Government Elections (LGE), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) have already expressed an unwillingness to part take in the regional elections if chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Dr. Steve Surujbally should remain.
At the party’s press conference, Monday June 15, General Secretary Clement Rohee said that the party has already called for the chairman’s resignation. Since the party has made calls for Surujbally’s resignation and they expressed some what of no-confidence against the election body resulting from the “rigged” 2015 General and Regional elections, the party said it will go to the polls but, “Not with Mr. Surujbally. We have already started calls for Surujbally’s resignation. We want Mr. Surujbally’s resignation almost immediately.”
On the other hand, the PPP says that the decision to go to Parliament is still being discussed at the executive committee even as the second sitting of the House is just over a week away. The party noted however that suggestion for Opposition leader has already commenced, while meetings to settle candidates for regional councilors and possibly for chairmen and vice chairmen are also on the way, with moves to settle Parliamentary members coming after.
The notion of an in-house fight on whether the party should go to Parliament was also set aside. Rohee said that the majority of members and supporters agree with them not taking their opposition seats in the House.
Addressing a letter by party member Dr. Vindhya Persaud for the party to go to Parliament, Rohee said that while all members are open to express their view, “Mrs. Persaud’s view is not the majority view at this time.” At another meeting of party candidates the matter will be discussed further, he said.
The General Secretary said too that the party’s support base, when asked about representing them in Parliament, is also sustaining the party’s move not to attend Parliament. He said, “The 49.3 percent of people who voted for us has told us their views. We have gone around the country talking to these people and they have some very strong views, so much so sometimes we have to try to contain them because my times we have extremist views being expressed. So we have to temper these feelings with some degree of soberness and sobriety.”
Rohee reiterated that, “We are approaching this thing at our own pace… these are our seats to which we were granted as a result of the votes we got in the elections. They will be taken up at the appropriate time when the party considers it necessary to do so.” Parliament’s next sitting is June 25.
In terms of LGE the GS said that apart from Surujbally’s resignation, any other changes to be advocated for in respect to electoral reform will be reflected in the petition that will be laid in the courts. LGE has not been held for more than two decades under the PPP when it should be held every four years.
LGE was one of the government’s election campaign promises.