In an address to the nation this afternoon, President David Granger said it would be reckless for him to name a date for elections without the advice of the Elections Commission with regard to its readiness.
President Granger said the Elections Commission must be allowed to continue the task of preparing for the forthcoming general and regional elections.
He said “it would be reckless and irresponsible, on my part, to appoint a date for elections without the Commission’s advice and assurance that it would be ready to conduct elections on such a date”.
According to the President, the Commission has an obligation to assure the public that it is ready to conduct credible elections and to advise the President of its readiness to do so.
He said once that is done, he could then dissolve Parliament and issue a proclamation appointing a date on which elections could be held in accordance with the Constitution.
The President said it is the Elections Commission that has a constitutional obligation to ensure that everything necessary would be done to deliver credible elections, noting that “it is the Commission’s task to ensure that adequate resources are acquired; personnel are employed; the Official List of Electors which enfranchises all eligible voters is published; administrative mechanisms to ensure efficient polling and the counting and tabulation of results are implemented; and that the laws of Guyana are enforced”.
Mr. Granger in his address added that the Elections Commission is insulated from political influence, instruction or interference and its independence is safeguarded by the Constitution.
” The independence of the Commission and the integrity of the electoral process are essential to ensuring elections which express the will of the electorate. I am committed to providing governmental assistance to the Commission to ensure that the forthcoming elections will not be contaminated by mismanagement or malpractice”.
He expressed his full confidence in the integrity of the Chairman of the Elections Commission Justice Claudette Singh.
“I have full confidence in the Chairman’s independence, integrity and impartiality and her intention and ability to perform the functions of her office in the best interest of the Guyanese people”, President Granger said.
The President’s address to the nation came on the same day that he met officials of the Carter Centre and assured them that he will name a date for elections once the Commission informs him of its readiness.
Just last Friday, a Government team met with the Chairman and Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission and were told that the Commission has not set any official timeline as yet but is working towards hosting the elections possibly before the end of this year.
The President issued a call on all Guyanese to have confidence in the Elections Commission as he noted that he is ready to be guided by the Chairman’s assessment of the Commission’s preparedness to conduct elections.
“I urge everyone to uphold the Constitution and respect the judgment of our independent institutions and the people who have been appointed to manage them. I look forward to the Commission’s recommendation to conduct credible elections at the earliest time possible”, President Granger said.