What was expected to be a meaningful engagement between the new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh, the GECOM Commissioners and President David Granger proved to be a matter of false hope.
The meeting on Thursday (August 8, 2019) at the Ministry of the Presidency lasted a mere eight minutes, according to the reports.
During the brief engagement, Granger circulated three booklets – ‘The Way Forward – Consensual-ism versus Unilateralism’ and ‘Credible Elections – The political situation in Guyana’; as well as a third that detailed the consequential orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) issued on July 12, 2019 after the Court’s ruling that the no-confidence motion was declared as validly passed.
Granger in comments after the meeting admitted that the meeting was brief. He said, “It was a brief meeting…it served its purpose.” However, what that purpose was – in terms of a significant move forward – is unclear. Granger added, “We had a very simple agenda….I wanted the opportunity to welcome the Chairman to a first meeting after her selection. It was a cordial and consensual…although it is earl in the tenure of the 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– we will not dictate, we will not interfere, we will not intrude in the work of the Commission. The Government will observe all the rules and responsibilities of the Commission.”
Asked if GECOM’s readiness for General and Regional Elections was addressed, Granger said, “I can only add that a matter is now before the Court and the Chairman of the Commission is waiting on what the Chief Justice will say and thereafter I expect to be in touch with the Chairman. The government is respectful of the role of the Elections Commission. Once I receive advice from the Chairman of the Commission, I will act on that advice. I expect all Guyanese will respect the independence of the Elections Commission and that we will proceed to General and Regional Elections in accordance with the work of the Commission.”
Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, who also made comments after the meeting, said, “It was a very brief meeting. The President laid out the position of the Government in relation to credible Elections, in relation to the consequential orders of the CCJ, in relation to the way forward to the political situation in Guyana. All of these positions are covered in booklets produced by the Government and was circulated to the Commission.”
Harmon essentially parroted the titles of the booklets that were circulated – not providing clarity on any significant development.