President David Granger remains Head of State until another is sworn in

President David Granger

… Government rejects  Opposition Leader’s utterances

President David Granger remains Guyana’s Head of State until another president is sworn in, the government reiterated on Thursday.

In the statement from the Ministry of the Presidency(MoTP) , the Government of Guyana said it strongly condemns the continued misinformation being peddled by Opposition Leader,Bharrat Jagdeo that the Guyanese leader will cease to be President after March 21, 2019.

The statement was in response to recent utterances from Jagdeo  at a press conference on Thursday.

At the press conference, Jagdeo, while responding to questions about his telephone conversation with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, said, “I prefer to keep a little quiet on the content at this point in time until I hear back from him as to whether he has spoken to President Granger, who will by the way, be Mr. Granger from the 21st.”

The MoTP  said Jagdeo’s utterances are meant to create confusion.”The Government of Guyana deems Mr. Jagdeo’s utterances as malicious and intended to create confusion amongst the populace. His statement is patently flawed and must be rejected outrightly,” the statement read.

It was noted that there is no provision in the Constitution of Guyana which requires the President to resign or demit office following the passage of a no confidence motion.

Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George, on January 31, 2019, in the case of Attorney General v the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition declared that while the no confidence motion against the Government prompts the resignation of the Cabinet and the hosting of elections, it does not dissolve the Parliament, which comprises the National Assembly and the President.

The MoTP said that  Article 106 (7) of the Constitution specifically states that the Government remains in office and the National Assembly may pass a resolution to extend the time for elections beyond the three-month period within which elections are required to be held.

“Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election,” the government said, noting that this Article makes it clear that there must be continuity in Government and there are no legal barriers restricting the administration exercising its functions.

It was noted that there are four processes which are running concurrently: The Legislature, Judiciary, Electoral and the Executive.

The government also said that Article 62 of the Constitution of Guyana states that “Elections shall be independently supervised by the Election [s] Commission in accordance with the provisions of Article 162.”

It was noted that the Constitution of Guyana states unequivocally that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is an independent, autonomous body responsible for the hosting of free, fair and credible elections. “President Granger cannot interfere in GECOM’s work. He has to be advised by the Commission of its readiness to host elections,” the MoTP said.

The President has repeatedly, over the past few weeks, said that he is committed to holding credible elections in the shortest possible time, this year.

“It is not for anybody to give the Commission instructions as to when elections are to be held. Once the Commission says it is ready, I will announce a date and I hope that date is as early as possible,” President Granger said last week following consultations with the Chairman and Commissioners of GECOM.

The administration recently condemned statements made by Jagdeo during  a ceremony at Babu Jaan at Port Mourant , Berbice  last weekend to commemorate the death anniversary of the Late Former President Dr Cheddi Jagan.

The Government reiterated that the “irresponsible call” by Jagdeo to “chase” President Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Government ministers out of their communities is dangerous and unacceptable, particularly in an election year.

The Government encouraged the general public to exercise good sense and to desist from disorderly behaviour as the law enforcement agencies will treat condignly, any disorderly conduct.