President David Granger this afternoon addressed the nation following the handing down of consequential orders by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Earlier today, President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders, held firm that it is not the role of the regional court to issue a date for or by which general and regional elections in Guyana must be held. In fact, Justice Saunders emphasised that the Coalition Government is in caretaker mode.
President Granger’s full statement follows:
Address to the nation by His Excellency President David Granger
July 12, 2019
Guyanese, the Constitution of Guyana is sacrosanct and supreme. The independence of the judiciary remains intact and the Elections Commission remains independent.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has now concluded its deliberations and has issued its Consequential Orders on the consolidated cases related to the appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission and the passage of the No-Confidence Motion.
The Court has noted that, of the greatest public importance, the President and the Leader of the Opposition should conclude the process of appointing a new GECOM Chairman.
The President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders, stated that this is imperative and of utmost urgency. I agree. I have committed since 21st December 2018 to the holding of free and fair elections.
Credible elections are essential to representative democracy. The credibility of the elections is dependent, in part, on the integrity of the Official List of Electors.
I maintain that a contaminated list can vitiate the credibility of elections.
Guyanese, I met the Leader of the Opposition on 4th July in good faith. We discussed the process by which the nomination of persons would be submitted to me for the post of GECOM Chairman.
Representatives of both the Government and the Opposition have met three times this week. However, that good faith has not been reciprocated by the Leader of the Opposition.
It was my hope that the two sides would have been able to “hammer out” the list of six nominees in accordance with the CCJ guidelines.
It is unfortunate that, despite the meetings between the two sides, the Leader of the Opposition rejected the idea of acting in a consensual manner. He chose to put forward candidates for the post who have been rejected previously.
Guyanese, it is clear that elections have to be held in the shortest possible time and, therefore, it is crucial to appoint a chairman of the Elections Commission. This could be done as early as Monday if the Opposition is prepared to act in a consensual manner and in good faith.
GECOM and not the Executive is in charge of the elections. GECOM has to advise the President on its readiness to conduct elections.
I commit to the holding of credible elections in the shortest possible time.
Guyanese, I will devote all my energies until the forthcoming election to serving our people and our country and to delivering good governance.
We live in a country that is moving forward; with an economy that is more resilient – providing better jobs; communities that are safer; in a society that has better infrastructure, greater access to quality education and that is more cohesive.
Guyanese, we are on the right path.
I urge all our people, of whatever background when the election comes, to back myself, and the coalition to secure a better future for Guyana.
May God bless you all.