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.
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.