Addressing the 2nd annual general assembly of the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) Granger said “Some of the authors of that crime against humanity have never apologised, have never paid reparations. They can pick up every comma and every semicolon but they have never apologised for the crime they committed for four hundred years.
Any of you know of whom I speak, you know who brought you here; never apologised but now they try to correct other people,” the President said.
Guyana is part of a Pan-Caribbean initiative, through the Caribbean Community, that is demanding reparation from the United Kingdom and other European countries for the impact of slavery.
His remarks came days after the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union (EU) last week jointly frowned on the Guyana government’s failure to call general elections before September 18, resulting in a breach of the country’s constitution.
They were referring to the three-month timeframe within which they believed the President should have called general elections after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled in June, 2019 that last December’s no-confidence motion was validly passed.
Guyana’s constitution states that on the passage of a no-confidence motion general elections must be held within three months or at another date subject to approval by two-thirds of the 65-seat National Assembly. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which has 32 seats, has refused to lend its support for such an extension.
President Granger has already rejected the American, British and European Union’s position that the constitution has been breached, while reiterating that he is relying on the Guyana Elections Commission, a constitutionally “independent” body to say when it will be ready.
GECOM Chairman, Claudette Singh last week wrote the President informing him that the elections management agency would be ready to conduct general and regional council elections.
Also weighing in on the diplomat's statement was the Guyana Trades Union Congress, GTUC, which cautioned the diplomats on their misinformation of the orders handed down by the CCJ and the subsequent actions of the government.
They expressed concern about the “out of order statement” issued by the diplomats which they said was “erroneous” in advising Guyanese that the Constitution had been breached.
The GTUC reminded the diplomats that even the CCJ, Guyana’s highest court, had “declined” the request to set a date by which elections must be held and that the Constitution does not give the President the power to do so without GECOM. “This view [expressed by the diplomats] is not only unfortunate but erroneous, risking the consequence of impugning the erstwhile reputation of the CCJ and the esteemed Justices who presided over the case. This is treading dangerous waters,” the GTUC stated.
“President David Granger cannot issue a date for election outside of the National Assembly granting the authority to do so since the three months period has lapsed. Where the Guyana Elections Commission has today announced its timeline as to its readiness for General and Regional Elections, Government and Opposition must commence engagement not only on an election date but matters of day-to-day governance…what we reject, in the strongest possible term, is support for violating the Constitution and Laws of Guyana and disrespecting the independence and rulings of our judicature.
"We expect the representative of these countries – notwithstanding their current internal political turmoil – to also respect us – notwithstanding ours – to seek orderly and lawful means in resolving differences. Likewise, as citizens of their countries expect no less Guyanese are no less deserving,” the GTUC concluded.
Before the passage of the no-confidence motion, general elections were constitutionally due the latest by August, 2020.
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