Constitution entrusts GECOM with power to hold elections; not president – PM Nagamootoo

– constitutional responsibility for the conduct of elections rests with GECOM

– a date can only be announced after GECOM advises the president

DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 11, 2019

The Constitution of Guyana entrusts the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with the power to hold elections; not the president.

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo presented these facts, on Sunday, in his column ‘My Turn’, in the Guyana Chronicle publication.

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo

According to the Prime Minister, the present list is padded with phantom names. At the same time, it excludes the names of youth who are now of voting age.

“His [Opposition Leader, Bharat Jagdeo] inexplicable obsession with disenfranchising young people makes his demand for early elections suspicious,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo stated.

“It must be clearly understood that the constitutional responsibility for the conduct of elections rests with the Elections Commission. The president would announce a date for these elections AFTER he is advised by GECOM, and after Parliament has appropriated adequate funds under a work plan for the administrative conduct of the elections,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo stressed.

The Leader of the Opposition wants the president, as a function of his constitutional responsibility, to dictate to GECOM, what form the preparation for elections should take, and within a time-frame imposed by the president, the Prime Minister noted.

He further highlighted that Jagdeo has conveniently refused to disclose the position he had assumed when, as president in 2006, he declared: “The law says that GECOM shall define the form of verification of the list, or may decide on verification and will decide on what form it will take. Not the PPP, not the PNC, not any party – GECOM. That’s a constitutional body, independent, just like the courts.”

“Today, the nation should reflect on the fateful December 21, 2018 ‘unholy alliance’ on the motion of no confidence in the lawfully-elected APNU+AFC Government, and the damage that has inflicted on the goal of national unity. It should also reflect on the legacy of the incorruptibility of Cheddi Jagan, both as a guide and a warning against self-serving, zero-sum politics, at the expense of our nation’s well-being,” Prime Minister pointed out.

The constitutionality of the December 21 vote is currently being challenged in the Court of Appeal, by the Coalition Government and other interested parties.

Rebecca Ganesh

Image: Department of Public Information