Opposition Leader in Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo has described as a repeat of “fallacies and fiction” a weekend national address by President David Granger.
Granger told Guyanese in an address broadcast on radio and television on Friday, that his coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for change (AFC) government is constitutional and that there is no legal impediment restraining it from exercising its functions or requires it to assume only ‘caretaker’ functions.
This as the government and opposition continue to battle over an election date, following a successful no confidence motion in December 2018, filed by the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“The Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is sacrosanct and supreme; the independence of the Judiciary and the Elections Commission is respected and the National Assembly is functional,” Granger said, adding that he is confident that, if these institutions are allowed to function without interference, the nation could expect a good outcome to the present situation.
But in a statement on Monday Jagdeo, who served two consecutive terms as the country’s President from 1999 to 2011, said the coalition administration has been peddling fallacies and fictions since it lost the motion of no confidence that led to its downfall.
“To recognize the pattern of duplicity and the peddling of fallacies and fictions, Guyanese have to go back to the night of December 21, 2019, where there was initial acceptance by President Granger and his Government of the consequences that were triggered by the passage of the no confidence motion.
“The coalition, in bad faith, then back-pedaled on its initial comments. Fallacies and fictions, as well as excuses, became the new order of the day,’ Jagdeo said in a statement.
In the statement, Jagdeo said one of the first fallacies repeated relates to funding for GECOM.
“The President says GECOM may need additional “resources” for the conduct of General and Regional Elections, when the Fiscal Management and Accountability (FMAA) (Amendment) Act 2015, which he signed off on in August 2015, makes it clear that GECOM can use sums from the Guy $5.731 billion appropriation to conduct elections,’ Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo also brushed aside the statement by the government that its decision to challenge the High Court ruling that the motion of no confidence was valid noting that “prior to the vote on the no-confidence motion, the government claimed that their 33 votes would be enough to protect it.
“After the vote, questionable mathematics relative to 33 not being a majority of 65 found its way into government’s legal arguments,” he said.
Jagdeo said that after March 21, the coalition government “becomes unconstitutional, illegitimate and illegal.
“Sole responsibility for the impending constitutional crisis rests with President Granger and his government. The President’s failure to address the fundamental issues has been addressed by the Parliamentary Opposition, repeatedly,” he added.
Following the passage of the motion of no confidence, the PPP had been calling for fresh regional and general elections in keeping with the Constitution that allowed for 30 days after the collapse of the governement.
Though the Constitution allows for an extension of the time, it must be approved by a special majority in the 65-member National Assembly.
Jagdeo’s, motion has triggered a political stalemate but he said his party has no intention of providing the necessary support to extend the deadline even though the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said that it is unable to conduct credible elections within the existing time frame and has suggested a date in July.