The Government and Opposition met at the Ministry of the Presidency on January 9, 2019 at 11:00 hours at a high-level bilateral meeting.
The delegations were as follows:
• His Excellency President David Granger
• Prime Minister – Hon. Moses Nagamootoo
• Vice President – Hon. Carl Greenidge
• Vice President – Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan
• Attorney General – Hon. Basil Williams
• Minister of State – Hon. Joseph Harmon
• Minister of Natural Resources – Hon. Raphael Trotman
• Minister of Social Protection – Hon. Amna Ally
• Leader of the Opposition – Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo
• Gail Teixeira
• Anil Nandlall
• Irfaan Ali
• Bishop Juan Edghill
• Frank Anthony
• Pauline Sukhai
• Odinga Lumumba
The parties met in an atmosphere of cordiality and iterated their emphatic commitment to work on all and any matters relating to the preservation and protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana; irrespective of any domestic political issues.
The parties agreed to discuss an agenda proposed by the President that included –
1. Constitutional and Legal situation:
• Functioning of the National Assembly;
• Functioning of the Government;
• Public Services;
• Public Order;
• Dissolution of Parliament.
1. General and Regional Elections:
• Role of the National Assembly;
• Operational readiness of GECOM;
• National registration;
• Public Information.
The parties recognized the high importance of continuous engagements between the Government and Opposition, the importance they hold for the national interest and the elevated public expectation.
The Leader of the Opposition reiterated his position that the “no confidence motion” was validly passed and therefore there must be compliance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution.
He further stated that the time-frames prescribed by the two provisions of the Constitution must be rigidly observed, notwithstanding the pendency of the legal proceedings filed; and that Parliament must be dissolved unless otherwise agreed upon in accordance with Article 106 (7) of the Constitution.
Further, the Leader of the Opposition contended that while the Government remains in office in accordance with Articles 106(7) of the Constitution, its functions must be confined to the provision of essential services of the State and to matters in relation to preparation for General and Regional elections.
In addition, the Leader of the Opposition emphasized that the National Assembly should only meet to deal with issues connected with the provision of essential services by the State and all matters related to the preparation of General and Regional elections.
The President emphasized that the Government is legal and that it must govern without any limitations on its authority. His Excellency further stated that there is no provision in the Constitution which imposes limitation on the Government to perform its lawful functions.
The President indicated that the Government and the Opposition, by agreement in the National Assembly, can enlarge the time beyond the 90 days contemplated by Article 106 (7) of the Constitution.
The President further stated that it is lawful for the Government to engage the Court, to bring clarity to the provisions of Article 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution. Pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings, Parliament remains functional.
Both sides are committed to work towards the expeditious conclusion of the matters engaging the attention of the court.
The parties identified Ms. Amna Ally and Ms. Gail Teixeira to enquire into the readiness of GECOM.
Both parties expressed their willingness to meet to ensure the management of the various issues facing the nation.