After two hours of grueling discussions with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) this morning, President David Granger felt that the guidance provided by the independent body was not sufficient for him to proclaim a date for elections.
Be that as it may, President Granger, during his official statement that was streamed on Facebook, said that he still deemed the meeting to be, “very enlightening” and “useful.”
The Head of State reminded that his meeting with the Commissioners of GECOM and the Chairman was to examine the ways and means available for it to have a credible elections in a short time span. They also discussed what would be needed in terms of funding and time for preparation.
Granger noted however that there appeared to be a stark difference in the opinions expressed by the Commissioners representing the interest of the Government and those for the political Opposition. The President said that while the differences are not “irreconcilable”, there is a need for the GECOM to begin a fresh search for agreement on the way forward.
The President said, “Much attention was focused on the (current voters’) list which is central to elections…We don’t want citizens to feel disenfranchised and it was evident from what was provided that the list is bloated…Given the size of our population, much attention is focused on sanitizing that list.”
Granger continued, “We did not receive the sort of guidance that we need to enable me as President to make a proclamation (on the) date ( for elections) but we have kept the door open and we have asked GECOM to go back to the drawing board to examine how quickly and how easily they could arrive at a consensual position; merge the various approaches; ensure that preparations for elections which have already started, continue; and that we could have an agreement as quickly as possible. …”
Overall, Granger said that the meeting was “productive” and “edifying” and his government is of the view that it has a basis for moving quickly with holding elections.
“Guyana can look forward to having elections as early as possible,” expressed the President.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon who was seated beside the President, noted that Granger has committed to GECOM, that if there is any matter which needs intervention from the Executive, it will be given in an expeditious manner so that its work can proceed with due haste.
Adding to these and other comments made by Harmon, President Granger sought to remind once more, that his government is in no way interfering with the work of the Constitutional body. He emphasized that it is for GECOM to advise him when it is ready, after which, he will call a date for elections.
“…It is not for me to overrule the Commission. It is independent. It is not for anyone to give it instructions on when elections will be held…So the question of the ball being in my court is not a credible point,” expressed the President.