Jagdeo suggests contracting UN to conduct LGE

first_img– says Gov’t interested in “sharing of proposals,” not power-sharingDue to historical concerns about free and fair elections in Guyana, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has suggested that an external agency that has credibility and weight, like the United Nations (UN), could possibly be contracted to conduct elections here.“We could hold a credible elections with just oversight from Guyanese; cheaper than if we contract an international body that all the parties could agree to,” Jagdeo told members of the local media at his weekly press conference hosted at his Church Street, Georgetown office on Thursday.The Opposition Leader premised his assertions on historical and current concerns about free and fair elections in 2020. He also feels if this is contracted out to anOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeointernational body, it would be cheaper to undertake.“Maybe that could be a model. I’m not saying that we want that, I’m just saying that we need to discuss these things; because, if the conduct of free and fair elections have always been a worry of the people of this country, then we have to give them assurances that the two interested parties — Government and Opposition — in their fight, don’t overshadow the need of the people and their right to free, fair, credible, and well-organised elections” the former President explained.He posited that there could be a “heavy presence” of the UN in the electoral machinery and the formulation of a credible voters’ list.Jagdeo said the model developed by the Carter Center, which was brokered in 1992 for the composition of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), was ruined by President David Granger when he unilaterally appointed retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman.“He has disrespected that; he has changed all of it, and he has acted illegally. From 25 years of practice, he has acted unconstitutionally,” Jagdeo posited.President David Granger has recently said the National Assembly should be involved in appointing the GECOM Commissioners, because the current model has resulted in gridlock.But Jagdeo has also hinted that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will not agree to Guyana’s Constitution being amended to allow for the appointment of GECOM Commissioners being done by Parliament.The Government holds a one-seat majority in the National Assembly of Guyana.The President noted that, ultimately, there would be a role for the two major political parties in the appointment of GECOM Commissioners by consensus, convention, or the constitution. In that regard, he preferred GECOM Commissioners be appointed by the National Assembly in a manner similar to how the Police Service Commission or Public Service Commission is appointed.However, elections observer missions have repeatedly called for the scrapping of the GECOM seven-member Carter Centre formula, which advocates for three commissioners representing the opposition, three representing the governing party, and an independent Chairman — because it entrenches the role of political parties in the process.Some recommendations had called for commissioners to be drawn from civil society and prominent and well-respected Guyanese.Power-sharingOn the idea of power-sharing, the President has said the time has passed for members of the Opposition to be included in the Cabinet. “As far as power-sharing is concerned, structurally, it is too late to embark on a reconfiguration of the Cabinet,” he said.Reflecting on the months immediately after his coalition won the May 2015 general elections, he said, “A proposal was made for an inclusionary democracy”. The President appears to prefer sharing ideas, instead of power.Jagdeo on Thursday slammed reports in the media that the PPP had proposed “power-sharing” with the APNU/AFC Government back in 2015.However, on Thursday, during his weekly press conference, Jagdeo said, “Let me make this clear: we have never requested power-sharing, because some people thought we did. So the President said it’s too late… Now, I think the President is quite clear: he never offered power-sharing and we are not meeting to discuss that; so I was surprised to see — maybe I shouldn’t be surprised when Newsroom, which is from the E-networks Group, (is) suddenly included; and this is becoming a pattern now of fake news, including that there was a proposal at the beginning to the People’s Progressive Party for power-sharing.”The Opposition Leader emphasised in his explanation that the President “wants this to be about an idea-sharing proposal, not a power-sharing proposal; so we must meet to share ideas.”“I just want to make it clear to people out there who may be talking about power-sharing and somehow that the PPP is holding this up…and that we seem to be the stumbling block to this idea,” he said.Back in May 2015, the PPP sought to make it clear to the Carter Center Observer Team that it will not be forced into any power-sharing arrangement as a result of post-elections violence or unrest.This issue was raised on May 10 2015 during a meeting between PPP/C Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, and former US President Jimmy Carter shortly before he departed Guyana for Atlanta, citing health concerns.last_img read more