THE announcement of a move to general and regional elections early next year, and the provision of timeframes for a return to the polls were welcomed by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Persaud.“I am happy that some timeframes were provided to end the prorogation, even though a specific date was not given,” he told the Guyana Chronicle yesterday in an invited comment.
On Saturday during a press briefing, President Donald Ramotar ended the wait of the Guyanese people with the much anticipated announcement on the way forward to bring an end to the current political impasse.
“I have considered, and I have consulted; and this is my resolve. We will go to elections. I have also since written to the international community alerting them to the possibility of early elections and the desire for them to field observer missions,” he declared.
Mr. Ramotar reasoned that this way, the Guyanese Christmas holidays, less than three weeks away, will not be disrupted.
A move by the President to set a date will have a bearing on several processes. Once a date is set it will translate to the dissolution of Parliament, which currently still stands suspended under the November prorogation proclamation. Political parties will then kick into campaign mode. And once a proclamation announcing a date is made by the President to go to general and regional elections, constitutionally, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has three months within which to deliver.
Asked for clarity on a timeline within which a date will be set for a return to the polls, the President assured that he will make the proclamation before the Mashramani celebrations, possibly in his New Year’s Message to the nation.
All considered, the PSC Chairman noted that a move to general and regional elections will provide local politicians with clarity on a mandate to move Guyana forward, as determined by the electorate.
“I am not so hopeful that election alone will solve our political problems and I hope the citizens will use the next elections to clear up the doubts that the politicians have currently about the mandate they received in the last election,” Persaud said.
On Saturday, the Head of State expressed confidence in regaining the parliamentary majority his party lost in the 2011 general and regional elections by one seat. At the last elections the combined Opposition gained control of the National Assembly by a one-seat majority, in a 33-32 split.
Mr. Ramotar credited his confidence to the Government’s performance in moving the country forward for the benefit of the Guyanese people and to the experiences of the Guyanese people in the last three years.
At a prior press conference, in mid-November, he had underscored that his administration is not afraid of the electorate, since the Guyanese people are perfectly capable of judging the accomplishments made relative to national development and improved livelihoods of the nation’s people.
“The Opposition will have to win the elections to do so (make good on their threats), which I doubt they will be able to do, because this time I am going back for my majority bigger than ever before,” he said.
The PPP/C has won every consecutive general election since 1992.
Mr. Ramotar’s announcement of a move to general and regional elections comes after his November 18 invitation for dialogue to Leader of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Brigadier (rtd) David Granger was rejected.