Times ahead call for national unity – PM Nagamootoo
─ 2019 Elections a possibility
─ initial 90 days to be pushed back pending appeal proceedings
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, February 3, 2019
In his “My Turn” column in the Guyana Chronicle on February 3, 2019, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo said that the possibility of new elections being held in 2019 could not be ruled out, but “the initial 90-day March 21 deadline has to be pushed back.
The Prime Minister explained that this is to facilitate “the outcome of appeal proceedings and a definitive pronouncement by the elections commission on a realistic time-frame.”
He noted that the possibility of early elections is not new to Guyana as there were several instances when general elections were held earlier than planned.
“After the 1961 elections, the PPP government under Premier Cheddi Jagan lasted three years, when elections were next held in 1964. Other elections in 1968 [Prime Minister Forbes Burnham] 2001 [President Janet Jagan] and 2015 [President Donald Ramotar] respectively were held just after three and a half years,” Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted.
According to him, there may be other scenarios which are unfolding, that could run concurrently with an option for early elections.
The Prime Minister cited “a cooling-off interval for the intervening judicial appeal processes to be completed, inter-party, government-opposition dialogue on a practical election time-frame and uncertainty surrounding preparedness by GECOM to meet any such schedule,” as being some of these.
He noted that the period ahead would require astute leadership and statesmanship. This, Prime Minister Nagamootoo said, would demand the surrender of short-term opportunistic gains as demonstrated by the opposition leader’s “zero-sum, political game of all or nothing.” It would call for an embrace of the goals towards national unity he said.
On December 21, 2018, a motion of no confidence was voted on against the Coalition Government in the National Assembly. The matter was then taken before the court where acting Chief Justice Roxanne George upheld the motion’s validity. This prompted the Coalition’s Government’s decision to appeal the ruling. In the interim, the government constitutionally remains in office.
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