…President says PPP hooliganism, vulgarity will not go unpunished
–urges Port Kaituma residents to make crucial choice between the civility and thuggery
President David Granger has warned that “somebody will pay” for holding hostage Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Karen Cummings during what many described as a lawless PPP protest outside of the Pegasus Hotel on Thursday, deeming the behaviour of that party a display of hooliganism and assuring that his administration will take every lawful measure to guarantee the safety of Ministers of Government and to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the country.
At the time he was addressing the opening session of a government outreach in Port Kaituma on Friday where officers of a number of government ministries and their respective agencies have traveled to deliver public service to citizens there.
Earlier in the day in a separate statement from his office, the Guyanese Leader said the Ministry of the Presidency had taken note of the “hooliganism and thuggery displayed by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and its supporters and associates, on Thursday, September 19 2019, outside and inside the Pegasus Hotel, where President David Granger was the guest speaker at the annual Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s business luncheon.”
“The lawlessness exhibited is not akin to a democratic political protest, but rather was a display of gross disrespect for the President, his Office, the Government and the occasion that was being held at the time. Peaceful and civilised protest action is common in any democracy, but it becomes a sign of worry when a Presidential Candidate and a former President, who is a constitutional office holder, seek to incite violence against the sitting Head of State and Ministers of the Government, during the execution of their official duties,” the ministry said in the statement.
According to the ministry the events of Thursday, go against this country’s Social Cohesion agenda and serve as a reminder that we have to safeguard our democracy. “Holding the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings hostage in her vehicle for over half an hour and blocking the smooth ingress of Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, all while hurling threatening and foul remarks, are entirely unacceptable and should also be condemned by all right-thinking Guyanese. The President assures all Guyanese that every lawful measure will be taken to guarantee the safety of Ministers of Government and to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the country.”
The ministry added that the Opposition’s undemocratic behaviour and its continuous threats to peace and stability, has no place in this society and will not be tolerated. “The President is committed to holding credible elections in the earliest time possible, in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution and based on the guidance given by the Guyana Elections Commission,” the statement ended.
The PPP in recent years have displayed crass behaviour with great regularity. Back in 2017 November its MPs disrupted the speech of President Granger in the National Assembly and only recently in March this year its Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo urged citizens to chase out government ministers from their communities.
Somebody will pay
Addressing hundreds at the outreach the Guyanese leader said those responsible for ‘hooliganism’ and ‘vulgarian’ behaviour on Thursday, both in and out of the Pegasus hotel will have to pay for it. In reflecting on the unfortunate series of events the day prior, President Granger said he accepted the invitation by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), because he believes that manufacturers and business persons are important to the economy of this nation. The PPP used this as the perfect opportunity to display a behaviour, which he said, happened three years ago in the National Assembly. “The People’s Progressive Party organised a demonstration and my minister of foreign affairs going to that meeting, they tried to turn the car over. That is hooliganism and some body will pay for that. You can’t put hooligans to run this country. You have to put people with culture,” he said to loud applause.
He urged the residents and by extension all Guyanese, to make a crucial choice, between those who without shame, displayed vulgarity and those who act I n a civilised manner. “I call it vulgar, vulgarian behaviour, these people do not deserve to run a government of a civilised country… so my brothers and sisters you have a choice to make, choose between the decent, courteous and civilised people and the hooligans,” he said.
The aim of the PPP’s protest was to send a message to President Granger that he and his government are illegal and that he should call elections now.
FOLLOWING CONSTITUTION SCRUPULOUSLY
President Granger told the residents that he has been following the Constitution scrupulously, for the last nine months and is in no way in breach of the law.
On the basis of a no-confidence motion, 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 aforementioned Article is clear that there must be continuity in Government and there are no legal barriers restricting the Government from exercising its functions, the President said, pointing out that the President remains President until another President is sworn in
In addition, 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.”
The Constitution of Guyana states unequivocally that GECOM is an independent, autonomous body responsible for the hosting of free, fair and credible elections. The Constitution outlined that the Executive arm of the Government cannot hold general and regional elections and the President must act on the advice of the independent agency, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
It was mere minutes before the PPP’s unruly protest, that GECOM’s Chairman Ret’d Justice Claudette Singh, advised President Granger that the Commission will be able to conduct credible elections by the end of February 2020.
President Granger said he has to discuss the matter with his Cabinet before pronouncing on a date. “I will discuss this with my Cabinet and I will respond to her, but we will have elections very soon and you will have to make a choice,” he reiterated. The President insisted that he is not afraid of calling elections and would have held two Local Government Elections (LGE) since in office.