Georgetown, Guyana – (August 8, 2019): President David Granger, this morning, met the Chairperson, Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at the Ministry of the Presidency.
During that meeting, the Head of State iterated Government’s support to the Commission to ensure that it has all tools necessary to execute its mandate.
President Granger, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo; Minister of Public Security and Vice President, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams, SC; Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams; Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally; Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman and Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon, said the Elections Commission is an independent body despite funding from the Executive.
After the brief meeting, President Granger and Mr. Harmon briefed the media. The President told the media that he invited the Chairman and Commissioners of the Elections Commission to meet him. He said it was important to address General and Regional Elections (GRE) which is the concern of all Guyanese.
In addition to welcoming the Chairman to her first meeting with the Executive following her selection to the post, President Granger said he assured the Commission of the Executive’s support and will ensure its independence is maintained.
“Although it is early in the new tenure of the new Chairman, I don’t think it was inappropriate to meet at this time to give her the assurance that the Government is going
to continue to observe the independence of the Elections Commission. It will not dictate, interfere or intrude in the work of the Commission. It will observe all of the roles and responsibilities of the Commission given to it by the Constitution,” he said.
Despite being a brief meeting, the President said it served the purpose of giving the Commission certain assurances. He reminded that Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George will rule on the issue of House-to-House registration on August 14.
“A matter is before the Supreme Court and the Chairman of the Commission will obviously want to know what the Chief Justice will say and thereafter, I expect to be in touch with the Chairman. The Government is very respectful of the role of the Elections Commission and once I receive advice from them, the Chairman of the Commission, I will act on that advice,” the President asserted.
The Head of State called on all Guyanese to respect the independence of the Elections Commission while stating that he looks forward to hearing from the Commission.
“We are not in the business of giving any direction to the Commission, the Chairman will advise me on the readiness of the Commission,” he said, adding that the Government has provided resources totalling over $8B to the Commission to ensure it can fulfil its mandate.
“…We will allow the Commission to do what it is authorised to do under the Constitution,” the Head of State told the media. He reminded that the Executive is concerned with the holding of credible elections but same cannot be had with a flawed list.
“We have said over and over again that if the List is flawed it must be corrected. It is for the Commission to say how it will correct that List. As Leader of the People’s National
Congress Reform, as Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity, as President of Guyana, we are interested in credible elections and this has been said repeatedly and that is what we are aiming it. So, we will accept any formula or any rule or decision which satisfies the requirements for credible elections,” President Granger said.
Director General Harmon iterated that the Government will continue to provide all of the support necessary for the Elections Commission to execute its mandate. He said Government “is interested in early elections and credible elections” while adding that Government will not dictate to the Commission how it should do its work.
Mr. Harmon disclosed that Chairman of the Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh, SC, CCH will advise the President on GECOM’s readiness.
“The Chairman did in fact commit to, having met with the full Commission at the meeting on the 15th August that she will thereafter communicate to His Excellency the position of the Commission,” Mr. Harmon stated.