The main Opposition Party, the APNU+AFC has taken umbrage to statements made by President, Irfaan Ali to the effect that Local Government Election (LGE), which is constitutionally due next year, will not be held until the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)is ‘fixed’.
President Ali was quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying: “I will not override anyone’s right to vote […] I am not getting into Local Government Elections now. What we have to do is to fix what is there first and we have to ensure that we have a system that is working, and a system that people trust, and a system that is professional, and a system that operates in an unbiased manner so that the people of our country can have confidence.”
The President, according to the department, said that following the five-month electoral impasse this year, “stakeholders” have expressed their concerns about enduring yet another lengthy electoral process. Therefore, the Ali stressed the need to have the machinery well oiled before getting into LGE.
But, the Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon is of the opinion that the President wants to fix GECOM to his party’s satisfaction, and not to the satisfaction of the people.
“I wish to place on record for Irfaan Ali and all who feel that they can violate the constitution with impunity that there will be serious resistance to this effort if they persist with it,” Harmon said this at a meeting with the Region 4 Regional Democratic Council (RDC) at the RDC Office, Triumph, East Coast Demerara today.
Before 2015 when APNU+AFC came into office, Guyana had 18 years without Local Government Elections, Harmon said. He added that the PPP under its then Local Government Ministers, Ganga Persaud and Norman Whittaker installed “hand-picked” Interim Management Committees (IMCs) which only answered to the government.
“So, what Irfaan Ali is proposing is again an abandonment of constitutionally guaranteed Local Government Elections which is critical to Democratic renewal. These are more compelling signs that the PPP regime is intent on going back to their days of dictatorship in Guyana. I am sending this clear signal to all who know their ‘ABC’ alphabet and those with ears to hear, the people of Guyana will resist a dictatorship of the PPP. Local Government Elections must be held,” Harmon emphasized.
He also renew his party’s call for the allocation of resources in the 2021 budget for GECOM to undertake House-to-House registration and to produce a new, credible list for both Local Government Elections and General and Regional Elections.