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President David Granger has said that he will be guided by the National Assembly and the public on the retention or abolition of the death penalty, while noting that government is willing to go to a referendum on the issue.

“I would say in the final analysis, the democratic course of action should be to rely on the expressed opinion of the National Assembly and, in the final analysis, of the people themselves. If the people want to go to referendum—referendum is something [that is] very expensive but let the people speak,” he said yesterday, during a recording of the ‘Public Interest’ interview programme. This particular section was released by the Ministry of Presidency ahead of today’s broadcast of the programme.

Granger made the comments a day after top UN and European Union officials met with key government ministers and members of the judiciary to continue calls for Guyana to scrap the death penalty all together, given the fact that its continued retention on local law books conflict with international humanitarian law. The team yesterday met with Granger at the Ministry of the Presidency.

UN team meets President on death penalty: President David Granger [centre) is flanked by, from left to right: Khadija Musa, Resident Representative of the United Nations; Baron Marc Bossuyt, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court  and Member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Former Judge of the International Court of Justice; Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Rajiv Narayan, Senior Policy Adviser, Secretariat of the International Commission against the Death Penalty and Derek Lambe, Head of Political Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union in Guyana. The meeting took place yesterday at the Ministry of the Presidency. [Ministry of the Presidency photo)
UN team meets President on death penalty: President David Granger (centre) is flanked by, from left to right: Khadija Musa, Resident Representative of the United Nations; Baron Marc Bossuyt, President Emeritus of the Constitutional Court  and Member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; Navi Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Former Judge of the International Court of Justice; Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Rajiv Narayan, Senior Policy Adviser, Secretariat of the International Commission against the Death Penalty and Derek Lambe, Head of Political Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union in Guyana. The meeting took place yesterday at the Ministry of the Presidency. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

The president said that he is advised by the National Assembly and the people of Guyana. “Guyana is an independent sovereign state and it is not for me to get ahead of what the people want. Right now…I do not envisage any circumstances under which I would be willing to assent to the death penalty, even though it remains on the books,” he noted.

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