…PSC chairman tells Carter Centre reps, civil society
…calls on citizens to act maturely, discourage unlawful behaviour
CHAIRMAN of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Desmond Sears, during a meeting between the Carter Center and the Civil Society Forum, called for the sanitisation of the current voters’ list to remove the names of deceased persons and include all those who are eligible to vote.
On Tuesday, representatives of the Carter Center met with the forum at the PSC’s head office to continue their fact-finding mission in light of the recent election-related controversy in Guyana.
Members of the Forum include The Anglican Church of Guyana ; the Guyana Human Rights Association ; the Movement Against Parking Meters; the Inter-Religious Organisation; the Guyana Presbyterian Church; the Roman Catholic Church; the Transparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated; the Guyana Rastafarian Community; the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union; the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC);Red Thread; RISE Guyana and the PSC. ofer in favor of no-confidence motion. llowing smond Sears, during a meeting between the Carter Centr adn
Providing a recap of his remarks during the closed-door meeting, the PSC chairman said: “My call to both the government and the opposition is to act maturely and to put Guyana first in finding a solution to this pending impasse. On GECOM: to find a solution to ensure that there’s a sanitised list which allows for all citizens attaining the relevant age to vote.”
This has been the call of many citizens and some politicians as concerns are that many youths who now meet the age requirement to vote would be robbed of the opportunity, should elections be held with the current voters’ list. The list expires on April 30, 2019 and, with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) yet to project a specific date for the holding of new elections, the option remains for fresh house-to-house registration or a claims-and-objections period.
Meanwhile, other groups and individuals of the Civil Society Forum such as representatives from RISE Guyana, have expressed their concern for the holding of elections within the 90-day timeframe. “RISE was particularly concerned with the conduct of GECOM; the fact that the successful passing of the no-confidence motion triggers an election within 90-days should instruct GECOM that at any given time they should be ready to have an election within 90 days, so the lack of readiness is of particular concern to us,” the representative said.
GOV’T CONTINUES TO FUNCTION
Meanwhile, in a presentation to the Carter Center, General-Secretary of the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis called for the government and opposition to continue working towards a solution.
He noted Article 106 (7) of the constitution which stipulates that the government should continue to “function” until an election is held and new leaders are elected. Lewis also reminded the gathering that at the most recent press conference of the GECOM secretariat, it stated that it requires at least 148 days to prepare for an election.
“GTUC maintains its concern on Rights and the Rule of Law, and the application of justice for all. The election issue before us today is not about the President or leader of the opposition. It is not about the respective political party’s interest. It is about we the people, the working-class people, who deserve justice in every aspect of Guyana’s governance, for this in effect impacts on our collective well-being and our way forward as a united and productive nation,” Lewis stated.
The GTUC’s view is that the government and opposition should not return to the National Assembly merely to address the issue of elections and government’s “function,” but to put in place structures to include political and non-political stakeholders.
PSC executive member Captain Gerald Gouveia told this newspaper that altogether, the meeting accomplished what was intended. “It was a very productive meeting. They’ve been able to get a perspective from a wide cross-section of society on where we are and we are also pleased with the conversation,” Gouveia said.
This sentiment was shared by fellow executive Kit Nascimento, who stated: “It’s a very good thing indeed. The Carter Center is here, they are taking an interest in the country at a time when we are possibly on the verge of a very serious constitutional crisis. The Carter Center has played, over the years, an enormously important part in helping us to understand and progress our democracy.”
He added that it was good that they are talking to the government, opposition, the private sector and civil society to get a full report of the concerns at hand.
Speaking with this newspaper, the Carter Center’s Associate Director Brett Lacy explained further the intention of the interactive meetings. “Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to make any comment about our work here. We’re a small exploratory team that is really collecting; we’re a fact-finding team; we’re meeting with different stakeholders to hear from them their perspective about the current environment here in Guyana,” she said.
Meanwhile, as the situation unfolds, Sears called for citizens to act maturely and to discourage all unlawful behaviour. He stated: “Guyana is on the brink of sustained prosperity and interruption of this process will not bode well for the future.”