On the same day that the Guyana Elections Commission is scheduled to come up with a new timeline for elections, President David Granger has indicated that he is anxious to head to new elections.
Speaking to reporters at his office, the President said “my mindset is on a clean list and credible elections in the shortest time as possible and this is what I have been doing all year, it is what I have been saying. I had written to the previous Chairman of the Commission, I’ve had several meetings with the Leader of the Opposition and no one can be more anxious than I am to ensure that elections are held as quickly as possible”.
The President said “it is very uncomfortable” for him as the Head of State to labour under the restrictions of an interim administration, pointing out that except for overseas travel for his health, he has not accepted invitations to go to other countries and the Prime Minister has also restricted his travels.
“We cannot plan a budget, we cannot bring a budget to Parliament, we cannot engage in certain types of projects which are regarded as irreversible and the whole business of Government has been slowed because we have been obedient to and compliant with the instructions of the CCJ last July. So it is uncomfortable for me to remain in this condition”, President Granger said.
The Government found itself in an interim status after the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the no-confidence motion which was passed against the Government last December was valid.
Since that July ruling, the Opposition has been pressing the President to set a date for elections.
But the President has been insisting that he can only set the date when the Elections Commission, which is an independent body, informs him of its readiness.
The Elections Commission has been meeting to come up with that timeline and is hoping to settle on a timeline today that will be presented to the President.
This morning, President Granger reiterated that it is the Elections Commission that has to be ready.
“Right now under the law, and in accordance with the Constitution, the Elections Commission has the exclusive authority in determining its readiness and I have publicly announced, I made a broadcast to the nation on Monday, that as soon as I hear from the Commission that it is ready, that it has the resources and staff and ballot papers are printed and all those requirements are complied with under the law, I will then consider making the announcement as soon as possible afterwards”, Mr. Granger assured.
He said the issue of GECOM’s readiness is out of his hands.
The President said “people have been calling on me, People have been picketing, but I cannot do anything because I do not have the authority. I cannot go out and print ballot papers, I cannot appoint returning officer, I cannot detail where polling stations will be. These are functions given exclusively to the Elections Commission and I don’t interfere, I don’t intrude and I cannot give instructions to the Elections Commission”.
Government nominated Commissioner at the Elections Commission, Vincent Alexander has said that he cannot see elections being held this year. He said it is likely that they will have to look at a timeline that would put forward January as the earliest timeline with March being the latest.
The Opposition is of the view that there is an effort to further delay the elections.