Granger confirms that he will not comply with Guyana’s Constitution ‒ Jagdeo 10-11 August, 2019 / Vol. 10 No. 85 / Price: $100
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Patterson touting new bridge at a time when Coalition is in caretaker capacity PAGE 27
Proactive steps have not been taken by APNU+AFC Coalition to revitalize forestry sector – Ali
Granger declares commitment to perpetuate Burnham’s legacy PAGE 3
Coalition’s lack of concern about thousands of foreign nationals PAGE 11 being moved through Guyana suspicious
ERC called on to monitor, investigate comments made by PNCR sympathizers PAGE 9
PNCR Leader backpedals on claim that Voters’ List is flawed PAGE 2
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Granger calls meeting PNCR Leader backpedals on claim that Voters’ List is flawed with GECOM Chair, A Commissioners ‒ engagement lasts a mere eight minutes
hat 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.
President signals intent to challenge High Court ruling on house-to-house registration W ith August 14, 2019 set as the date on which Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire, will hand down her ruling on the challenge to the ongoing house-to-house registration, President David Granger has already hinted that he will not accept a ruling that is unfavorable to him. Asked if he would accept the High Court’s ruling, Granger, on Thursday (August 8, 2019) said, “We are ready to pursue any le-
gal action that we feel will lead to a favorable outcome to have credible elections in Guyana.” Christopher Ram challenged the ongoing houseto-house registration exercise last month. Ram’s attorneys asked the court to declare that the registration exercise is in violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the judgment and consequential orders made by Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ) in the consolidated
cases stemming from the passage of a no-confidence motion against government last December. The application argues that since passage of the motion against the David Granger-led administration, neither the Cabinet nor President has resigned; nor has the Head of State issued a proclamation dissolving the National Assembly or fix a date for elections to be held within the three months as is stipulated by Article 106 of the Constitution.
s leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), David Granger has held a line that the Voters’ List is flawed – bloated by some 200,0000. This is a position that has been rejected by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, on July 23, 2019. When asked to comment on Granger’s assertion that the voters’ list is bloated by about 200,000 names, Lowenfield, on July 23, 2019 said, “You are saying my List is bloated….bloat is not a word it would affix to it (the List).” The Chief Elections Officer also stated that Granger’s claims is based on speculation. Lowenfield said, “It’s speculative. I will want to do an exercise to determine that amount and that exercise can be done,” he said.
Since then, Granger has seemingly backpedalled on his position. On Thursday (August 8, 2019), he said, “If the List is flawed it must be corrected.” While Granger now says “if” the Voters’ List is flawed, he had previously said, definitively, that it is flawed. He also admitted that any decision to update and refresh the Voters’ List is a decision for the Guyana Elections Commission to make. “It is for the Commission to say how it will be corrected,” he said. Lowenfield, on July 23, 2019, admitted that the last valid List of Electors, as of April 30, 2019, can be refreshed via a Claims and Objections period and used for new General and Regional Elections. He said, “If a claims and objections exercise is to be used, then
that will form the basis of a preliminary list.” Asked specifically if the last Valid List can be used to conduct a free and fair Elections, Lowenfield said, “That is correct.” Lowenfield made similar comments in February this year. On February 5, 2018, Lowenfield, declared that a short period of Claims and Objections can refresh the validity of the Voters’ List. “We can move toward the conduct, as I said yesterday, of a claims and objections exercise of a duration to be specified by the Commission so that we can arrive at a list,” Lowenfield had said. Also on February 5, 2019, he stated too that the last Valid List of Electors was “clean” – a sentiment echoed by all the political parties who contested the November 12, 2018 Local Government Elections.
Claims and Objections is the only option to move forward - Jagdeo T he choices before local political actions is clear and any person would see what the path forward is, according to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who stressed the need for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to commence a Claims and Objections exercise, as a means of refreshing the Voters’ List to allow for Elections to be held within the constitutionally mandated timeframe. On Thursday (August 8, 2019), he said, “Claims and Objections is tested method. The easiest way to move forward is to use Claims and Objections….it is what we can do in a short time and it is not alien to the GECOM secretariat.” He stressed that there is a deadline for General and Regional Elections to be held in Guyana – that is by September 18, 2019. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) made clear that the three-month election clock started on June 18, 2018 when it ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly and successfully passed – a final ruling after months of legal challenges. Jagdeo noted that the GECOM Secretariat made two suggestions made two suggestions in March 2020 – Claims and Objections or house-to-house registration. The latter, he explained will move Guyana long past the three-month election deadline – all the way to February 2020 – just to arrive at a new National Register of Registrants. Currently, Guyana
has a National Register of Registrants – which is used to produce a Preliminary List of Voters that is then finalized as the Official Voters List to be used at Elections. The National Register of Registrants has not expired. Jagdeo said, “The National Register of Registrants has been used for four Elections. It has been updated through 15 cycles of Continuous Registration….up until the no-confidence motion, no political party had a problem with the National Register of Registrants….this is a database that we took several years to perfect the database we had. “…where we are today, we have to wait until February 2020 to get back to this… house-to-house means producing a new National Register of Registrants….February 2020 is the date, this is, if things are prefect; much less if we have problems….and that is only the field work. It will take several more months before we can have an Official List of Electors….if they shorten the time to do houseto-house registration we will have total confusion.” He stressed that Claims and Objections will allow: 1. Allow any eligible Guyanese who has reached the age of 18-years-old to be registered if their name is not on the Voters’ List. 2. Allow any eligible Guyanese to get a transfer from one voting district to another, in the event that they changed their place of residence. 3. Allow any eligible Guy-
anese to do a name change. 4. Allow for the removal of a dead person from the Voters’ List. 5. Allow for objections to be made to the name of someone not eligible to be on the Voters List. Jagdeo noted that in addition to the fact that house-tohouse registration will push Guyana months past the constitutional deadline for elections to be held, it will see the de-registration of countless numbers of Guyanese – Guyanese students who are studying abroad and Guyanese working overseas, among others – and it is currently the subject of a court challenge. “Why go a route that will create more problems for country? Why go a route that is vastly inferior and will take longer?” he questioned. The Opposition Leader added, “If the President listens, he would understand that house-to-house registration will not allow for compliance with the Constitution or the ruling and orders of the CCJ….the concerns he had raised about the Voters’ List can be addressed by a Claims and Objections period. “…if the President is interested in credible election, then work with…it doesn’t matter which part of the political divide you are on, it is plain pure logic. This is where our arguments are, logic.” Despite Jagdeo’s continued calls, the Granger-led Coalition has not significantly changed its position on pushing ahead with house-to-house registration.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Granger declares commitment to perpetuate Burnham’s legacy “W
e are encouraged by his example. We are inspired by his vision. We, his heirs and successors, recommit to perpetuating his legacy…we remember him with reverence and respect,” declared President David Granger about the late leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Forbes Burnham. Granger was speaking at the commemoration of Burnham’s 34th death anniversary of former on Tuesday (August 6, 2019), which was marked by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Mausoleum, Place of Heroes, Seven Ponds, Botanical Gardens. The event was organised by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – which Granger is now the leader of – and was also attended by Ministers of Government, among other persons. This is not the first time that Granger has talked up the policies of a controversial Burnham.
Last year, Granger praised Burnham’s policies on the occasion of his 33rd death anniversary. And he charged that he and his government are committed to continuing the efforts of Burnham. “We recommit to continuing his efforts,” Granger said. Also, in 2018, at the PNCR’s 19th Biennial Congress, the majority of the start of Granger’s speech was spent on addressing the ideology of PNCR founder, Burnham. According to Granger, the PNCR “rests securely on its institutions” and stressed that those institutions “hold up” the party. “We are an ideological party,” he said adding that Burnham’s ideas are still relevant today. “He used those ideas to transform society,” Granger said. According to the President the ideology of Burnham must be given “institutional form” and made clear that the PNCR is proud of the ideology it is guided by. “We have to complete
our historic mission….we must act resolutely,” Granger said. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, in the past has said that while Granger paints Burnham as a nationalist and an egalitarian, he cannot be separated from the discrimination that occurred during his era, not the facts that Guyana was a repressive state with a failed economy. Rigged elections and lack of democracy, the Opposition Leader charged, is another fact that cannot be ignored. On that note, Jagdeo referenced the report from the international Commission of Inquiry (CoI), which also detailed the type of society Guyana had become under Burnham’s rule. The Commission’s 155-page report concluded Rodney’s assassination was a “State organised” act that was executed with the knowledge of the then Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, who had “large and detailed”
Decision of recently appointed Minister to fire staffers overturned S
taffers of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of the Public Service who were fired by Public Service Minister Tabita Sarabo-Halley, days after she assumed duties as a Minister, have been reinstated following a board of inquiry. “The board found that the letters to the three public servants were unlawful and having regard to its observations and findings, recommended that the letters of the termination be immediately withdrawn,” said, Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon on Wednesday (August 7, 2019). He added, “The minister has been advised of the need for due process and the rules of the public service with respect to employment,
discipline and dismissal of public servants.” On May 31, 2019, Halley reportedly sent staffers from the entire personnel department and the account packing. According to information received, the Minister claimed that the department is moving in a different direction and that the services of the old staff will no longer be required. Personnel were escorted from their offices by security. A junior staffer of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Press Affairs Unit had claimed that there were no dismissals. However, the next day, the termination letter sent to the staffers who were fired was leaked to the local press corps. The leaked letter, dat-
ed May 31, 2019, titled ‘Termination of Contract of Employment, said, in part, “Pursuant to aforesaid contract of employment, your services are hereby terminated with immediate effect. One month’s salary will be paid to you, in lieu of notice…any and all property belonging to the Government of Guyana that currently resides in your possession must, as a matter of course, be forthwith returned to support continuity and efficiently of the work of the Ministry.” The letter was copied to the Ministry of the Presidency’s Permanent Secretary, Abena Moore. Some of the fired staffers, now reinstated, had served in the public service for over a decade.
President David Granger as a GDF rank with then PNC leader, Forbes Burnham
knowledge of what was being done by the State and its agencies during his tenure. The report details also detailed the link to the principle of party paramountcy and the use of the GPF and Guyana Defence Force (GDF), as well as the judiciary, to go after persons who were seen as opposition elements. The report concluded that Burnham,
had such an “absolute” grip and control over the society that he “dehumanised and belittled many Guyanese.” Quoting the testimony of Tacuma Ogunseye, the report noted that the then Prime Minister Burnham was prepared to “do anything to maintain power and that included violence and death.” The result was that op-
position elements were constantly harassed, threatened or assaulted and some murdered. “The period under review was one of extreme hardships and difficulties in the life of Guyanese people. The rule of law was systematically subverted on a daily basis. It was replaced by the rule of man in the person of Burnham and the PNC,” the report said on page 59.
Granger says oil money will fund free education ‒ Jordan says only US$100M will be available in 2020
n admission from Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, about the amount of oil revenues that will flow to Guyana in the first year, contradicted the promises being made by President David Granger. Jordan, on Tuesday (August 6, 2019) was reported as saying that only about US$100M will be available for spending in Budget 2020. He said, “In [the] whole year of 2020, and using US$50 per barrel of oil, our take will probably be two hundred and something million. And
based on the formula that we have for withdrawal and so on, what you may have available to the budget is one hundred and something million.” On August 1, 2019, Granger said from petroleum revenues, citizens will be able to benefit from free education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. He was at the time addressing attendees at this year’s National Emancipation Festival held at the No.53/Union Village, East Berbice- Corentyne (Region Six).
According to Granger, his Government commits to widespread development from 2020. Given Jordan’s comments, the President’s promise of free education – from nursery to university – takes on the characteristics of political rhetoric. Already, the APNU+AFC Coalition is taking some $88B more annually from Guyanese in taxes and fees. The Coalition is still to explain how it plans to finance free education, among other promises.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
A fight Claim of 100,000 registered should for all have been further investigated Guyanese A Dear Editor,
here do we draw the line between the simple abuse of authority and the gross misrule we call fascism? The APNU+AFC Coalition has moved beyond abuse of authority. The Coalition’s arrogance is undermining Guyana’s democratic principles. That said, it is not a far stretch for Guyanese to consider debating whether or not our current political situation can be described as a fast slide towards fascism. Fascist regimes are usually led by an authoritarian and who have dictatorial powers. Fascism should not be viewed so much so as a political ideology but a means for seizing and keeping power. Keeping this in mind let us examine the disposition of the APNU+AFC Coalition. The Coalition was elected on a wave of change; they hyped the populous with theories of the drug economy and extra-judicial killings. Fascism tends to draw energies of the people from grounds resentment, a fascist leader gain followers by dangling hope for something to change or getting what was stolen. This administration promised to curb corruption, end the drug economy and extrajudicial killings. These sentiments were used by the current administration and they came to power. Former United States of America’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was quoted as saying: “Fascism concerns itself less with specific policies than with finding a pathway to power, what about tactics of leadership – no clear leadership.” Is this something echoed by the Coalition? In a fascist state, the power lies with the leader, and the people have no rights; whereas in democracies, it is the people that have the power, they empower the government via an election. In Guyana, the current APNU+AFC Coalition Government refused to comply with the Constitution. Seven months since the passage of the no-confidence motion – over a month since the decision of Guyana’s final Court, the Caribbean Court of Justice – and Guyana is no closer to a General and Regional Election. Timothy D. Snyder once said: “The Constitution is worth saving, the rule of law is worth saving, democracy is worth saving, but these things can and will be lost if everyone waits around for someone else.” For this reason, Guyanese cannot be hapless bystanders. There must be involvement in the fight to protect our democracy and in the fight to uphold rule of law and respect for Guyana’s Constitution. We must fight for our democracy. The fight to keep our democracy is lost if we just wait around for someone else. It is up to each and every one of us. If we do not, the debates about fascism, authoritarian and dictatorial rule may become more than just an academic discussion.
s a reader of the Stabroek News, I was a bit taken aback by its publication on Saturday, August 4th 2019 of a story which says that over 100,000 persons have registered so far during GECOM’s house-to-house registration exercise. The source of this information is the taxpayer-funded APNU+AFC propaganda entity, Department of Public Information (DPI). I find this wholesale publication of uncorroborated information from a questionable source to be un-Stabroek News like, given that it is a news outlet which prides itself in adherence to journalistic fundamentals such as verification. The DPI’s attempt to propagandize by falsely projecting support for the illegal house-to-house registration could not have escaped the author of that Stabroek News article. I’m sure DPI’s use of a picture with an Indo-Guyanese being registered was done in order to deceive readers into thinking
that the activity has widespread support. All Stabroek News had to do is to ask the GECOM PRO for a disaggregation of the numbers in order to maintain its objectivity and credibility. A simple breakdown of the numbers to say how many persons registered and in which areas would’ve sufficed. I live on the East Coast of Demerara and in my village alone, hundreds of persons have refused to be registered. This is being replicated into thousands across that section of Region Four and hundreds of thousands across the country. In addition to the non-participation of thousands of Guyanese across the country, this exercise is not being properly scrutinized and it will deregister many more thousands. It is therefore illegal and illegitimate and is being done in defiance of the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Yours faithfully, Nalinie Singh
Constitutional powers with regard to CCJ’s authority to give effect to its Order remain intact Dear Editor,
nlike most CARICOM Member States, Guyana, by its seminal participation in the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (hereinafter referred to as the CCJ) in 2001, had “buried its navel string” in its decision-making process. Our confidence in the finality of its rulings may have now been undermined by its reluctance and discrete restraint made pellucid in its recent indecision in the no-confidence litigation, consequent upon the obvious, manifested manipulation of its imprecise but discreet rulings by the caretaker regime of the Granger administration. Admirable curial restraint is now mistaken for a self-indulgence in political filibustering, so common place in the architecture of undemocratic juntas, disrespectful of electoral proprieties. This unwitting neglect for the likelihood of the duplicity of the political polity that characterises some CARICOM incumbents has unexpectedly diminished the real but less than robustly expressed intentions of the Bench of Judges. All and sundry must condemn the cunctatious dissembling of the Granger Government whose legitimacy expired on the 20th day of March, 2019, following the No Confidence Vote on the 21st day of December, 2018. For the avoidance of doubt, the unchallenged jurisdiction of the CCJ contained in Article 153(1) of the Constitution and the CCJ Act 2005 relating to the vexed issues before it entitled this Court to exercise the eclectic powers conferred by Article 153 (2). This paragraph of the Article is worthy of verbatim expression, to wit, the Court “…may make such orders, issue such writs and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any the provisions of Article 138 to 151 (inclusive)”. The record reflects that the CCJ relied upon, indubitably, the time hallowed Conventions of law and practice, the requisite, common, expected integrity of the esteemed State actors, to give effect to the patently pellucid intentions of the Court’s decision. Hence, its adherence to curial reserve and concinnity
of language. However, on a purposive interpretation of the breadth and expanse of the panoply of powers which inhere to the Court, given the simple words used, no meaningful view could exclude a coercive component therein. This Court utilised this power in the case of the registration of an elector in the Barbadian election process in 2018. In hindsight, their regnant wisdom and comity for the separate organ of the Executive have been dashed unto the barnacled rocks of political expediency, generated solely by the insatiable hunger for power, regardless. One can only hope that the lesson given is a lesson learnt. The Constitutional powers with regard to the Court’s authority to give effect to its Order remain intact for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of its aforementioned original Orders. Timeline explicit in the Constitution and implicit in the Orders of the CCJ must be met by all “bodies and personages”. Nevertheless, experience has shown that in electoral matters, the limitless tenacity of the PNC component of the APNU-AFC Coalition resists all lawful demands to respect the 1980 Constitution. It may therefore be plausible to question whether the Court’s self-imposed abnegation of its optional remit in paragraph 2 of Article 153 took into account the dysfunctional literacy and numeracy competence and challenges of the Granger-led regime and its selected satellite “bodies and personages”. Furthermore, and contrary to the uninformed mutterings about sovereignty in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, States such as Guyana have ceded any claims to any quondam autartic dimensions, geopolitically. Should the ruling of the CCJ not be complied with, quo vadis? Yours faithfully, Justice C R Ramson (Senior), Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Utterly shameless comments by Winston Jordan With thousands of foreign A nationals entering Guyana, why are exits not being documented?
uring the period when members of the Muslimeen were incarcerated for the insurrection in Trinidad and Tobago, a story was told of seven Haitians being placed in the cells with the Muslim brothers, that same evening, the Haitians started drawing frantically on a wall of the cell, they were drawing a picture of a large sailing ship “we are leaving tonight, do any of you wish to come with us?” they asked. One man laughingly said, “yes, anything to get out of here”. The next morning, the Haitians were gone, the picture of the ship along with them, and the one man who said he would accompany them…found dead on the floor, no cause of his death ever determined. Guyana’s Haitian visitors are also vanishing without a trace, and have become a cause for national concern. In September 2015, after it was revealed that the (then) new APNU/AFC Administration had introduced a policy that Haitians must show cash and return tickets before they could enter Guyana, I wrote that “What pains me, however, is to see Guyana join that line of oppressors; we should be embracing our Caribbean brethren, treating them with respect and dignity, and dare I say it, some preference. Instead, I see a denigration of a proud people by hollow men, new to power, devoid of consciousness, the nouveau riche of the Caribbean; how soon we forget” – (SN 29.9.2015). It would seem that on that occasion my plea did not fall on deaf ears and our Haitian brethren have been accorded more humane treatment since. We are, however, now faced with mounting evidence that Guyana has become a transit point for Haitian people; this migration in itself is not problematic or cause for worry, what is, however, is the lack of documented exit from Guyana. This undocumented exit phenomenon points to organised migrant smuggling.
Migrant smuggling is “a crime involving the procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person is not a national or resident”. Migrant smuggling affects almost every country in the world. It undermines the integrity of countries and communities, and costs thousands of people their lives every year. UNODC, as the guardian the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and the protocols thereto, assists states in their efforts to implement the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Migrants Protocol)”.Guyana is a signatory to this protocol. Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix is unconcerned and stated that Guyana is being used as a stepping stone by the Haitians for greener pastures. Of the 8600 Haitian arrivals in 2019, 13 have left Guyana legally. The Minister also said “We have found that their intention is to get to relatives in Suriname, Cayenne, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. We have traced legal departures but there is a number we cannot account for, and those we suspect left illegally (backtrack)”. Guyana will probably be placed on some sort of blacklist and sanctions will be applied unless the attitudes in Government change quickly. There is no doubt that the Haitians are willing participants in the smuggling, however, the Government must investigate why exits are not being documented; if any abuse of persons is occurring during their stay in Guyana; if false documents of any kind are being produced and issued to these persons during their time in Guyana. Protection of our Haitian brethren during their time on our shores is a duty that should not be taken lightly. Respectfully, Robin Singh
Jordan’s admission another indicator that Government clueless about sugar industry Dear Editor
he GAWU has seen and considered the statements of Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan expressed in the August 05 Stabroek News article titled “GuySuCo diversification delayed – Jordan”. The article, we gather, is the latest in the series of articles published by the newspaper arising from a wide-ranging interview with the Minister on a host of matters under his stewardship. Through the latest installment of the interview, our Union was gravely disappointed to learn that the planned diversification programme with respect to the estates under the stewardship of the GuySuCo has been delayed. From the news report, we gather that the Minister indicated that the initiatives to construct co-generation plants have been shelved for the time being as emphasis is placed on other areas. While we noted that the Minister did not specifically identify
where the previously allocated co-generation monies would be spent, he did disclose, we saw, that the sums would be used to hasten the state-owned estates return to viability. While we welcome every and all workable and considered efforts to restore the industry to a viable and sustainable state, the Minister’s admission is yet another sad twist in the confused road the industry has been taking in recent times. The fact that NICIL-SPU will have to now approach bondholders to receive their proverbial ‘blessing’ to re-jig the utilization of the $30B bond only serves to confirm, yet again, that absent was any plan to properly utilize the large sum. It is the absence of such a plan, in our view, that was the source, of the animosity that spilled over into the public arena between the NICIL-SPU and the GuySuCo. As may well be recalled, the GAWU, on several (Turn to page 6)
s Guyanese proudly prepared for Emancipation Day 2019, the caretaker Finance Minister heartlessly warned workers that they will be replaced by foreigners willing to work for less. Bewildered, the Guyanese people wondered where the caretaker President is, where the caretaker Prime Minister is, where are the political parties which swear they exist because of the working class. It surely cannot be only Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP who must rebuke Jordan. This week, just before Emancipation Day, the caretaker Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who never admitted he is a dual citizen, as has been alleged, stated, unapologetically, that he prefers foreign workers who would work for less pay than Guyanese workers. His statement is as outrageous as it is unequivocally reckless. It is utterly despicable and disgraceful. In fact, under normal circumstances, by itself, it is reason enough for a Government Minister to immediately resign or be fired. Except, this Minister was already fired on December 21, 2018, and he is presently squatting in his position. While his statement is shocking, sadly, few Guyanese are shocked, expecting nothing but recklessness from the APNU/AFC and their Ministers. But the dismay is real and nothing can diminish how repugnant Jordan’s posture is. The dismay is compounded and there is genuine shock that the trade unions are still silent. Where is Lincoln Lewis of the Guyana Trades Union Congress? Cat cut his tongue? For a Government to endorse foreigners coming and taking jobs from Guyanese, on the basis that their wages are lower, is disgraceful and unforgivable. The time has long past for the leadership of the APNU/AFC to reject the statement from Jordan. It is now almost a week, total silence. David Granger as the caretaker President and the Leader of the PNC is silent. Moses Nagamootoo, the caretaker Prime Minister, who still has nothing to do, who often boasts he is the champion of the working class, is totally silent. His AFC colleagues are in “la la land”, not a word of rebuke. The WPA, which has disowned Walter Rodney and which has become totally subsumed as a regular PNC group, is busy ensuring they remain in the warm embrace of the PNC, cannot even be bothered. When the Private Sector in Guyana decides to hire foreigners because they can pay them less than Guyanese workers, they have legitimacy since the Government endorses this shameless practice. In fact, the Private Sector has already done so. Many security guards today in Guyana are foreigners. More shameful and totally unacceptable, many of the foreign security guards are employed at Government facilities. These foreigners are not only working as security guards, but they also work in the stores and restaurants and other service entities. They work in the mines and in the forestry sector. What makes this practice unholy and repugnant is that it is happening amidst high unemployment. More than 30,000 people have lost their jobs through closure of businesses, including the closure of four sugar estates, and through the slowing down of the economy which has forced certain businesses to reduce staffing. In addition to lost
jobs, the Government has failed to create employment. Now unemployment among the Guyanese workers is skyrocketing because available jobs are being taken by foreigners, just because they can be paid less, and the Government, if we are to accept Jordan’s pronouncement, is jumping for joy. It is the height of irresponsibility and Jordan and the APNU/AFC must not escape the people’s wrath. It is behaviour and attitude like this which caused the APNU/AFC to lose the no-confidence vote in Parliament on December 21, 2018. That was not an accident, no fluke, it was the reflection of the loss of confidence among the majority of the Guyanese people. David Granger and the APNU/ AFC know this. It is the reason they are so morbidly afraid of the election which was due on March 21 and which is again due on September 18. They will do everything within their deceitful best to avoid the elections. What is most egregious is they still insist on their reckless behaviour, hoping to buy votes by handouts and hoping to use some of the foreign workers to vote for them, illegally of course. While this practice began with jobs like sales persons, security guards, restaurant workers, mining and forestry workers, home workers, in the farms, etc, it is only a matter of time before these workers flood the country competing for other jobs, such as teachers, nurses, in the oil and gas industry etc. This must give us pause because we must now develop a cohesive policy to guide the influx of people from other countries into Guyana. It is not that Guyana cannot accommodate others. Guyana can benefit from an increase in population. But clear policies must guide the influx. When the only rationale is it is better to pay foreigners cheaper, it is a clueless way forward, it is reckless, it is even criminal. Guyanese workers are still the lowest-paid workers in Caricom, outside of Haiti. Now we have a Government which promotes as sound economic sense for foreigners to compete with Guyanese workers by offering their services cheaper. What is unforgiveable is that the APNU/AFC took the reins of Government on the backs of Guyanese workers who they promised dramatic wage and salary increases and significant improvement in other benefits. Guyanese sugar workers, after four years, have received not a cent in wage increases and they have lost significant associated benefits. The public servants are no better off and, after four years, they are still told their increases are coming. Weeks after the APNU/AFC became the Government, they increased their own salaries and benefits between 50 and more than 100 per cent. At the time, they told public servants the Cabinet had to take their own increases first because it will make them more competent and less corrupt and the public servants must be patient and await their turn. Now, workers are told foreigners will take their jobs for less pay. They are utterly shameless in telling the Guyanese workers their jobs are in jeopardy because foreigners are welcomed to come take those jobs if they are willing to work for less. It is high time we punish the APNU/ AFC by voting them out. But these shameful people have decided they will not permit any election to fire them. Sincerely, Dr Leslie Ramsammy
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Gov’t has failed to address main problems affecting every police officer Dear Editor,
ermit me to respond to an erroneous letter in the Stabroek News written by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Public Relations & Press Officer, Superintendent Jairam Ramlakhan. Perhaps in his zeal to defend the GPF, or perhaps because of pressure from the Minister of Public Security, Supt. Ramlakhan felt compelled to respond to PPP/C Presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali’s remarks detailing plans for our men and women in uniform. This guy is either completely out of touch with the pulse of our men and women in uniform, or he is shamefully deceiving the public in ignoring the despicable conditions under which police ranks are asked to serve knowing fully well that the ‘blue wall of silence’ will protect him from the outrage of police officers who will be disciplined if they dare to speak out. In his letter, Ramlakhan denounced Ali’s claim that ranks were experiencing political interference, favouritism in career path and advancement, the utilization of obsolete equipment to execute their duties, poor working conditions, limited support for their families, limited community support and limited attention to welfare issues, among others.” Superintendent Jairam Ramlakhan needs to get out of his cozy office to know what’s really going on in the Force. Readers may recall that in a letter dated July 27, 2017, the then Minister of State, Joseph Harmon wrote to the Police Service Commission (PSC) informing that the President had directed that there be no consideration of promotion for members of the Guyana Police Force until further notice. This political interference by the President was ruled a “breach of the Constitution” on November 22, 2017 by Chief Justice (acting) Roxane George. That very month, November of 2017, Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud was sent on ‘special leave’ in the ‘public interest’ by Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan,
a controversial move that was considered unconstitutional and smacked of political interference. Then in April of this year, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack discontinued private criminal charges of misconduct in public office filed against Government Ministers Volda Lawrence, Dr. George Norton, David Patterson, Rupert Roopnaraine and Winston Jordan. And it was the infamous Attorney General, Basil Williams who bragged that it was representation through his office that prevented the private charges from continuing against the government ministers. The point is, there is documented evidence of political interference in matters of the Guyana Police Force by the Granger Administration and Supt. Jairam Ramlakhan wants us to believe this never happened. In his letter, Ramlakhan wrote, “The Guyana Police Force has embarked on a reform programme and is currently engaged in the implementation of a Three-Year Strategic Management Plan 2019/2021, which is a continuation of a previous Five-Year Strategic Management Plan.” But while that may be so, this “Strategic Management Plan” has done little or nothing to improve the welfare of ordinary police officers who risk their lives every day to keep Guyana and her citizens safe. Despite all the elaborate plans in the pipeline to improve the efficiency of the Guyana Police Force, the Commissioner of Police and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan have failed to address the main problem affecting every police officer I have spoken to, poor salaries and living conditions. It’s as simple as that! Until and unless these conditions are rectified, it will be almost impossible to stamp out corruption in the Force, something that must be done at all cost! After conning the Joint Services with the false promise of a 20% salary increase during the 2015 election campaign, police officers are still grossly underpaid and unappreciated.
And to make matters worse, the one-month tax-free Christmas Bonus that the Joint Services once enjoyed under previous PPP/C governments has been discontinued by the uncaring Granger Administration. On March 24th of last year, I was part of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee of the Security Sector that inspected police stations at Moruca; Matthews Ridge; Port Kaituma and Mabaruma in Region 1. To his credit, the Committee Chairman and Minister of Public Security, instructed his police ranks to be truthful and straightforward in answering our questions, and I am satisfied that this was done. Because of this candid interaction with the ranks, I was able to ascertain the state of readiness of our police force in those communities, and the conditions under which they live and work. Editor, we demand professionalism of our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. They in turn, need to be assured of their government’s support and commitment to provide them with the tools to keep them safe, and to get the job done. Sadly, much is needed to provide the basic level of comfort to those police officers, most of whom have been transferred from locations far away from home. Police in Region One are challenged to cope with routine criminal activities they are confronted with on a daily basis. Every police station was short-staffed and in dire need of transportation; adequate manpower, and better weapons, mostly small arms. There was no defined policy guideline to deal with Venezuelans who crossed the border into Guyana, work here illegally and set up gangs and prostitution rings. Living quarters for police officers were mostly cramped and inadequate. In Port Kaituma, an officer named Sergeant Connell was forced to live in a dilapidated building that should have been demolished a long time ago. I hope he is no longer living there. Every police outpost needs a reliable communication system, more so, those located in rural isolated areas. Yet the police radio at Moruca had not been working for over a year at the time we visited. Without a telephone land-line, the only form of communication available to these police officers were their personal cell phones. Moruca had been without a 4×4 vehicle since 2012, and one of the two ATVs were non-operational due to smooth tyres. A common request I heard throughout this inspection tour was the need for female police officers to deal with cases of rape, domestic violence, child abuse etc. The station at Moruca was without a female police officer and had no female living quarters, compromising not only the gathering
of evidence, but the privacy of those women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. I hope these issues have since been addressed. Throughout, police officers that were transferred from other locations to work in Region One expressed dissatisfaction with the three months they are required to serve before they’re given two weeks’ vacation to return home. Often, because of the staff shortage, some were required to work much longer to attend court proceedings with prisoners. Keeping a police officer away from his family for such a long time will surely contribute to broken homes. To make matters worse, I was told that unless a police officer is required to escort a prisoner to Georgetown, he has to pay his own transportation to and from home which often includes costly airfares. While the Minister of Public Security admitted that he is aware of some of the “harsh” conditions that exist in some locations, it appears that those sitting in cosy offices at Eve Leary are failing to address the basic needs of police officers in the Hinterland Region. At the Matthews Ridge and Port Kaituma Police Stations, basic, inexpensive necessities that were required to improve the living conditions of our police officers were sadly lacking. These include black tanks to store water; a 4-burner gas stove and kitchen utensils to cook food for police ranks and prisoners. Also in Matthews Ridge, there was an urgent need for the construction of additional prison cells to accommodate prisoners during court days. At times, police are forced to house between 18 and 26 prisoners in two unsecured “lock-ups”, each measuring about 5×6 feet. I hope these conditions have since been improved for prisoners deserve to be treated with some level of compassion. Also in Port Kaituma, the police station was in dire need of a vehicle and a boat with a 200 HP engine to patrol the riverine communities in order to restrict the flow of drugs and other illegal items, as well as to deter crime. The PPP/C Presidential Candidate knows what he is talking about. He has been traveling all 10 regions listening to the cries of a depressed people. He knows what has to be done, and is committed to providing our men and women in uniform with a livable income, incentives, and tools to get the job done. After all, the security and wellbeing of our citizens and the business community are vital to promote growth and prosperity for all our citizens in a democracy where our constitution is paramount and the rule of law respected by all. Yours faithfully, Harry Gill PPP/C Member of Parliament Member of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee of the Security Sector
Time for action by CARICOM is now Jordan’s admission another... Dear Editor,
he expressions of annoyance, if not frustration with CARICOM’s perceived nonchalant attitude to the caretaker administration’s flouting its obligations under the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society was no unexpected surprise. It is to be recalled that on February 17, 1997, the Governments of the Caribbean Community subscribed to the Resolution adopting the Charter of Civil Society. Among its provisions is Article XVII on Good Governance which enjoins Member States to ‘adopt and implement all appropriate measures to ensure good governance which is just, open and accountable. ’In present-day Guyanese context ‘appropriate measures’ should be read to mean holding of free and fair elections, a concern that is uppermost in the minds of the Guyanese electorate
In January 1998, a mere month after the December 1997 elections, CARICOM despatched a Goodwill Mission to Guyana ‘after anxiously wondering whether the political impasse could be managed in such a manner that would not leave a graveyard for the announced victor in the contest and for the next generation of Guyanese.’ That was 21 years ago. The ‘next generation’ has emerged since that time. But the question as to whether the extant ‘political impasse could be managed in such a manner that would not leave a graveyard for the announced victor’ remains as valid as it was 21 years ago in light of an elections that is long overdue. The international community, especially CARICOM shouldn’t wait to be surprised by the unexpected, the time for action is now. Yours faithfully, Clement J. Rohee
occasions, has reiterated that, from our point of view, there appeared to be no plan regarding the expenditure. We should add that our concerted and consistent attempts to engage the Corporation on its plan was stonewalled, it seemed, at every turn. Now, the admission that the bond proceeds have to be adjusted only serves to further confirm our suspicions. This latest episode is yet another indication that the powers-that-be are either clueless or unconcerned, or maybe both, as they address the sugar industry. It must not be forgotten, that the industry in spite of the reduced scale is still the nation’s largest employer. It is also a significant source of sustenance in rural Guyana. This clear fact has been demonstrated by the vacuum created in the communities of the closed sugar estates. It is saddening to recognise the reality that more than one year has elapsed and millions of dollars, so far, have been paid to bondholders as interest and there is, apparently, no tangible utilization of the invested sums. This, for us, is not a matter of great comfort.
(From page 5)
What’s even more disheartening is that the latest admission comes just a mere week after no lesser than President David Granger, himself, had said he wanted the sugar industry to thrive. While the President is saying one thing, we see completely different actions coming from the other officials of the Granger Administration. Certainly and undoubtedly, it is hard to really give credence to what the Government is saying about the sugar industry any longer. Remember the now-a-day governmental leaders told the Guyanese electorate prior to their election to office, that “Sugar was too big to fail”. The reality is that they were less than truthful as the industry was minimized and thousands lost their jobs. We cannot afford any further miniaturization and a clearly workable plan is not an option but an imperative. Sincerely, Seepaul Narine GAWU General Secretary
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
GECOM must act professionally to ensure that Guyana remains a democratic State
Guyanese people can no longer tolerate the abysmal T failure of APNU+AFC
inance Minister Jordan is quickly surpassing Prime Minister Nagamootoo when it comes to spinning yarn. On June 24, it was reported by the Department of Public Information that Jordan boasted that, “every household will benefit from a robust economy…once the economy is growing the average housewife or worker can expect better payment, and if that economy is growing with low inflation, they can also expect stable prices”. This is just another “figment of his imagination”. This illusion was sparked by the IMF Report which projected that Guyana’s economy will grow by 4.4 per cent in 2019. The Minister also emphasised that the IMF Report also indicated a steady economic growth since 2015. He then concluded that “just a short while back there was the Carnival in Guyana and over that week you did not have a single complaint about money not flowing…the restaurants, the side vendor, the taxi driver, and everyone, even the Private Sector, was moved to indicate that indeed things were happening in the economy…” What Jordan should realise is that in his Budget 2019 speech he had announced that real economic growth is expected to be 4.6 per cent and with the current unstable political climate, it is going to get a lot worse. It may even be lower than the 3.6 per cent growth in 2018. This was emphasised by the Caribbean Development Bank which warned of such a negative impact and this was echoed by a number of Chambers of Commerce across the country. While the appointment of GECOM’s Chairperson is a positive move in the right direction, the high level of uncertainty with regards to the resignation of Cabinet and the calling of General Elections within the 3-month timeframe is creating havoc in the Private Sector as businesses operate in gripping suspense. The CDB Report had emphatically stated that “Guyana is on the verge of a sharp increase in economic growth, but immediate prospects partly depend on ending political uncertainty”. Will Jordan’s caretaker Government be able to remove this uncertainty so that Guyanese can finally live their dreams in their homeland? Perhaps he should also take a deep look at the Bank of Guyana Report which highlights the worsening of the balance of payments and an increase in borrowing to augment the wasteful spending. Moreover, it boggles the mind that according to Jordan, a week of “Carnival” in Guyana can be an indicator that “things were happening in the economy” when
over 30,000 persons are jobless, including 7000 sugar workers, when increased taxation is sharply cutting the disposal income of employees, when the prices of food items and fuel are going up (Bank of Guyana Report), youth employment is soaring, the health sector is falling apart, and the poverty gap is widening. This Minister, being an economist, should seriously ponder upon the words of Aristotle, “One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy”. In addition, the Finance Minister must not lose sight of the fact that even though the report indicated a steady economy since 2015, there has also been a steady decline in the “good life” of the Guyanese masses which resulted in the successful passing of the No-Confidence Motion against Jordan’s Government which has now been relegated to caretaker status! I will invite Jordan to visit Region Six and other rural areas and walk the streets and he will come face to face with the people dancing to the ‘Carnival of poverty’. Whilst there may be economic growth, that has to transform into economic development and that has not been happening due to widespread and escalating corruption, mismanagement and squandering on good life for the ‘boys’. Perhaps the Finance Minister should have looked at the Auditor’s General Report 2017 wherein it is stated that for the fiscal year 2017, more than $1 billion taxpayers’ dollars have been lost in overpayments to contractors, payments of goods and services without any vouchers, and payments for good that were not delivered. This does not include the billions lost through substandard works which resulted from kickbacks to Government officials. It must be realised that financial resources are borrowed in order to supplement the budget and this means an additional burden to the taxpayers. Furthermore, it is sickening to note that many recommendations in the audit report have not been implemented to put a halt to this daylight robbery. Perhaps he should also look closely at some projects such as the CJIA and the D’Urban Park fiasco. Since 2017, the situation has deteriorated and gotten worse. It is now clear that taxpayers are paying more for less! Finally, the Guyanese people can no longer tolerate the abysmal failure of the coalition and the total destruction of the economy. Let the election be called and the electorate decide. Once was enough! Yours sincerely, Haseef Yusuf
he internal dynamics of Guyana are in a potentially explosive political crisis, emanating from who control Guyana. Many intelligent and sincere people are convinced that the taking of or continuation in power by the APNU/AFC coalition Government will be destructive for the nation while the Government satisfies their own self-interest. The most troublesome and worrying development is the Guyana Elections Commission, which was explicitly created to prepare and conduct elections (which the Constitution specified could be held anytime) and which exists to continuously update the voters’ registry and otherwise prepare for elections at any time. GECOM is acting in defiance of the Constitution and continues to be partisan in its behaviour when making critical decisions. It is factual that GECOM is an autonomous Commission that is being financed by taxpayers, and must ensure that its constitutional mandates are being fulfilled despite any external political forces. The drastic action by GECOM to embark on House-to-House Registration cannot satisfy all stakeholders in the holding of credible elections since obligations to hold genuine elections have not been addressed comprehensively or systematically by GECOM. However, no two electoral systems are exactly alike, there is no single model of democracy, there is no one size democracy that fits all, while it differs, the range of democratic systems does share one important similarity that is the intricate link to everyone’s civil rights and obligations. While each country’s sovereign right is to choose how to conduct its elections,
UN member states have agreed by a set of obligations and commitments to protect and promote electoral rights of their citizens, basically to ensure that every citizen has the effective right and opportunity to participate in elections on an equal basis. If a Guyanese goes out of the country for six months and returns to Guyana after the final voters’ list has been compiled by GECOM, (but their name was on the last voters’ list), only to be told that their name is no longer on the voters’ list, that would deny this person an opportunity of their constitutional right to vote. Therefore, the ongoing HTH Registration is not only denying this person their right, but many other Guyanese who are holidaying overseas. Guyanese must ask: 1) Why is it that GECOM presently doesn’t have a valid voters’ list? 2) Why did GECOM allow the voters’ list to expire? 3) What happens if there should be by-elections in the Local Government System? Billions are being spent by taxpayers yet officials who are mandated to execute their functions are failing. We must not continue to pay officials for failure and incompetence in GECOM. GECOM, under its new leadership, must act professionally to ensure that Guyana remains a democratic State. The UN, OAS, Carter Center etc must be asked to assist in the preparations for elections before September 18, 2018. Congratulations to the new Chairperson of GECOM. Regards, Zamal Hussain
House to house registration has historically been a recipe for protracted delay Dear Editor,
he Carter Center Report entitled “Observing Guyana’s Electoral Process, 1990-1992” and published on its website is extremely important and instructive as the debate and battle over the house to house registration exercise rages. Coming out of the report (pages 19-27) the following points are important to note vis a vis house to house registration and the delay in holding an election: All political sides agreed to a new house to house registration process. Consequently, Parliament passed a Constitutional amendment extending the life of Parliament and government beyond the date of its scheduled dissolution (February 2nd 1991) but not to exceed Sept. 30th 1991. After the House to House registration exercise and the Preliminary Voters List was produced and checked for accuracy, it was discovered that there were “a large number of duplicate names and more than 50,000 eligible voters missing from the list”. It was not until Sept 28th, 1991 – just two days before the deadline to dissolve Parliament – that the Elections Commission produced a voters list for elections. This was three months later than the date that Ronald Jacobs, the Commissioner for national regis-
tration, had promised. Upon the Elections Commission notifying the President that the list was produced, President Hoyte dissolved Parliament for elections to be held in three months (by Dec 28th, 1991). An in-house computer analysis of the voters list found an error rate of 35% but the list was nonetheless published with the hope that the Claims and Objections exercise would be sufficient to rectify the voters list. With the prospect of a publicly announced December 16th, 1991, election, the Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government sent a delegation led by former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo and conducted an exhaustive evaluation of the voters list and concluded that the list was “seriously flawed” with a very high rate of errors. Despite all efforts by the Elections Commission to rectify the voters list for the scheduled December 1991 election, Rudy Collins, the Chairman of the Elections Commission wrote to President Hoyte on the 20th November, 1991 to advise that the final list of electors would not be ready in order to meet a December 1991 election. President Hoyte on the 28th November, 1991, announced the postponement of (Turn to page 9)
The farce at play has been exposed for all to see Dear Editor,
his week, in Demerara Waves I noticed an opinion piece penned by my former high school teacher GHK Lall on the current house to house activity. I previously wrote to you when the exercise was commencing stating that this exercise will eviscerate my right to vote in the upcoming General and Regional Elections.
Mr. Lall is claiming that this exercise will take six weeks, I would urge him as he has urged me many times to examine all the facts, recently I saw a release of the GECOM work plan, showing that the exercise takes us into early next year. After collecting the data, the fingerprints must be sent to Jamaica for processing into the database, which I understand takes two weeks. Any errors must then be sent back and the person then located to have
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019 errors corrected and then sent to Jamaica for a further two weeks. “A list that is current, accurate, credible and reliable and representative of all eligible Guyanese voters before all Guyanese is the only way to go.” I have researched this, doing house to house will not achieve this. My advice to Mr. Lall is to urge those whom he is connected to; to have a period of continuous registration (this is how I have registered) this way all those who are fourteen and above will be added to the National Registrant Registrar Database. Also simultaneously have a period of claims and objections, so anyone with a dead grandmother on the list can take in her death certificate and remove her. This way people like me who currently live aboard but have intentions of returning home during the term of the next elected government can have a say. He is calling for political sensibility to prevail, I believe the opposition has been nothing but generous on time, carrying on with a myriad of court rulings. The CCJ has been clear to respect the constitution. I be-
lieve the government is letting their hand of immaturity show, with their desperate cling to power. I call on my fellow young people to observe what is happening. In 2015 we were promised this government of change and I have observed many of my classmates' graduate UG and are still seeking employment. In concluding he asked what’s the hurry, well, the way I see it, a motion of no confidence was passed since December 21st last year. We are a few months shy of a year since the constitution dictates ninety days, how many ninety days have since passed? Surely he can see it’s the government that is “defecating upon the constitution” I urge my fellow Guyanese, especially the youth to see the farce at play, we don’t need a softer approach. We need to hold a hardline and demand the government to call for elections as mandated by our constitution has which was subsequently supported by the highest court of the land. Regards, Nutana Singh
The PNC’s historical problem with maths Dear Editor,
he PNC, which has hegemonic control of the APNUAFC Coalition, seems to always have a problem with mathematics. This is a historical problem. In the general elections of 1968, 1973 and 1985, the PNC claimed over 60 % of the votes when everyone knew that these were rigged elections. The 1978 referendum which was boycotted, most tellingly exposed the PNC, with empty streets and polling stations; nevertheless the PNC recorded 80% turn out at the polls and unabashedly gave themselves 2 more years in office to introduce a new constitution. More recently the PNC-led government went all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice to try to prove that 34 is the majority of 65 elected members of the National Assembly; their mathematical gymnastics failed and Guyana was made a laughing stock in the entire Caribbean region. More recently, no less than the President stated that there were “200,000 incorrect entries” on the voters’ lists , the “list was corrupted and needed to be sanitized”, hence the need for a new National House to House Registration and a new national identification card. No evidence or even “anecdotal stories”, to quote Minister Felix vis a vis the Haitian smuggling ring, were tendered to enlighten the population. Where did this figure of “200,000” come from? How did the President come up with this figure? No one knows but again the PNC like a magician with his magic wand conjured up 200,000 – another example of “PNC maths” at work. The fact that the Chief Elections Officer of the GECOM, when questioned by the media recently reference this astounding figure, disavowed that he had advised President Granger that the list was “bloated” with approximately 200,000 extra names. Lowenfield cited that the 200,000 figure is speculative. Understandable maybe, as how could he describe the voters’ list he oversaw for the 2015 general elections, as well as the voters’ list for 2016 and 2018 Local Government Elections be “bloated”? “Bloated”, he admitted, “was not a word he would affix to it”. Only a few months before he had described the same list as “clean and credible.” If one takes the “PNC maths” seriously then let us examine this proposition by the President.
The list of Guyanese registered for the last General and Regional Elections in 2015 was 570,708. This election put the PNC-led APNUAFC Coalition in office, a list that it did not complain about then. If you reduced that List of 570,708 by Granger’s 200,000 you end up with 370,708 voters. This 370,708 is less than the number of people who actually voted at the 2015 General and Regional Elections; a total of 412,012 Guyanese voted at the 2015 Elections. The 2018 voters’ list has 633,155 eligible voters. If one subtracts Mr. Granger’s 200,000, there are 433, 155 voters, a mere 21,143 voters more than in 2015.So is this how the PNC intends to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters presently on the voters’ list? There is no doubt in my mind that this is the plan. Now we have the “numbers game” with the House to House Registration, and again like the man with the “chic chic” board, the aim is to deliberately confuse and distract the audience. First, we have the announcement by GECOM that 20,000 people were registered at the end of Day 2, July 22, 2019. Then GECOM announced on July 31, 2019 that 69,547 were registered in the first 11 days. Next the Department of Information on August 4, 2019 announced that 108, 814 were registered by August 2, 2019. When the PRO of GECOM was asked to verify this she is quoted in the media as saying that “as of the weekend (August 3-4) it was 70,000 so it should be around 100,000.” Clearly the race is on; the GECOM secretariat is rushing to prove that this exercise can be done in three months, by October 20, 2019. However, no one believes that 108, 814 persons over the age of 14 have been so far registered. The fact that GECOM has not provided any data on the numbers registered by region or by the 29 Registration Offices only increases the suspicion. The fact that the CEO issued instructions to the Registration Officers to not give the permanent PPP/C scrutineers access to that information is also suspect. The 2008 national house to house registration exercise was done in six months, January 7, 2008 to July 4, 2008. 430,745 persons were registered 14 years old and above; 33,000 were not registered as they did not have birth certificates at the time. General and regional elections were held in December 2011 after at least four continuous registration cycles and
a claims and objections period. In the 2008 house to house registration exercise an average of 2,393 persons were registered per day; in 2019 GECOM would have us believe that 7,254 were on average registered per day in the first 15 days. GECOM knows that this is not accurate. Readers may need to be reminded that on June 14, 2007, the Government of Guyana, GECOM and all of the existing Parliamentary Political Parties agreed to the conduct of the 2008 House-to-House Registration. The agreement which was signed by the GOG, PPP/C, PNCR-1G, AFC, GAP-ROAR, and the United Force (TUF) stated as follows: “That, prior to the holding of the forthcoming Local Government elections, a national 2007 House-to-House Registration, of all eligible registrants aged 14 years and over, will be undertaken by GECOM and this will constitute the country’s new National Register of Registrants NRR)….that all of the abovementioned Parties agree that the procedure of Continuous Registration will, thereafter, be used by the Guyana Elections Commission to update the NRR, on an ongoing basis, to ensure that a Voters' List could be readily extracted for the holding of future elections.” The 2008 house to house registration exercise was called the “Mother of All Registrations’ that would provide a new National Register of Registrants Data Base and ensure that GECOM with statutory continuous registration cycles would be in a state of readiness to hold elections at any time. Over the last eight months, GECOM has refused to prepare for elections; this is the first time that elections have not been held within 90 days as required by the constitution. In actual fact, it is GECOM during this period that has been an integral part of the subversion of constitutional rule in our country. How can GECOM complete this exercise in half the time that it took to do so in the 2008 registration and with a larger population base now? This becomes even more dubious when one remembers what Vincent Alexander, one of the three government- appointed members on GECOM told the media on February 11, 2019 that “July 2019 and February 2020 are the two dates Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will consider for the hosting of General and Regional Elections.” According to Alexander, “…if claims and objections begin soon then you can host elections in July. If House to House registration is done, then elections would be February 2020…” Even Attorney Marcus, SC, for GECOM told the CCJ on
July 1, 2019 that the house to house exercise would end on December 25, 2019! What made GECOM in June this year halve the time for the house to house exercise when it had projected in its work plan dated February 25th 2019, two months after the No confidence motion, that the House to House exercise would take from June 2nd to December 18, 2019, a total of 199 days or 6 months and 16 days? Now that the exercise started one month and 18 days later means that the date would most likely be pushed to early February 2020. Add to that the other consequential processes such data verification, cross matching of fingerprints, the production of a Preliminary Voters Lists, then a Claims and Objection period, followed by the production of the Official List of Electors, and you could very well be holding elections well into mid-2020. This is a travesty unheard of in any democratic or democratic aspiring nation. But no matter how GECOM rushes, skips people’s houses and threatens people with being locked up if they do not register, it cannot escape the timeline of article 106 (7) of the Guyana Constitution and the CCJ June 18th ruling and July 12th consequential orders. Make no bones about it, September 18th 2019 will come and the government will be illegal. It cannot remain in office in defiance of the Constitution and the Caribbean Court of Justice. But there are two options that can prevent Guyana from becoming a pariah state: i) If the Court rules on August 14, 2019 that the House to House exercise must be halted, elections preparations start immediately and elections be held as close as possible to the September 18th deadline; OR, ii) The Guyana Elections Commission decides to halt the House to House exercise by mid-August; within 10 days commence a three week Claims and Objections period using the November 2018 voters’ list, elections could be held as soon as early mid-October. Both options would knowingly be past the September 18th deadline but not too distant. However, it is highly unlikely that the Granger caretaker government will deviate from its plan to remain in office for another year following the No Confidence Motion. The PNC-led APNUAFC government is obsessed, and has been since 2015, when they won with only a hair breath of 4,000 odd votes, despite the largest ever turnout of their supporters. This pre-occupation has become more entrenched after their loss at the 2016 (Turn to page 9)
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
House to house... elections and recalled Parliament on the 3rd December, 1991, to extend the life of Parliament and government until a new final voters list was completed but not later than the 30th Sept. 1992. From January 1992 to May 1992 the Elections Commission was engaged in the process of producing a new list. Even after the list was completed, there remained several problems with the list, including a large number of names that had incorrect ID numbers or none whatsoever, and a large number of names placed in incorrect electoral divisions. These problems took several additional months to correct. On the 10th August, 1992, the Elections Commission Chairman informed President
(From page 7)
Hoyte that the Final List of electors was completed and on Aug 29th 1992, President Hoyte dissolved Parliament for elections to be held on Oct 5th 1992. This experience with house to house registration has historically shown that it is a recipe for protracted delay and in light of the three-month Constitutional requirement for an election upon the successful passage of a no confidence motion and the Caribbean Court of Justice ruling that all (including GECOM) are bound by the provisions of the Constitution, the house to house registration exercise should not be pursued. Yours faithfully, Charles S. Ramson
The PNC’s historical... Local Government Elections, and, even more worrying after the 2018 Local Government Elections when it lost its mandate to govern. The PNC’s objective is to ensure that the voters’ list guarantees their victory, or, as they call it a ‘credible election.” This can only be done with padding the list with people not eligible to be voters and disenfranchising thousands who are entitled to vote, and the House to House exercise allows for these objectives to be met. The PNC predictably is also counting on threats of violence, veiled and overt, by its leaders, as per Basil Williams recently at the American Chamber of Commerce’s panel discussion. We have experienced all of this already; in 2015 when the PPPC was calling on GECOM to do a recount, the APNUAFC Coalition threatened that results had to be announced urgently or they would burn down Georgetown. GECOM capitulated. The PNC once again is counting on the use of fear and
(From page 8)
threats as it did in the 1992, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2015 elections to suppress their opponents, and intimidate the middle roaders, sections of the middle class, foreigner investors and the international community, into compliance. But once again, the PNC has the maths wrong: • June 18 + 3 months= September 18th 2019; the government is illegal • House to house registration + 3 months = a flawed list; the government is illegal • Elections in December= the government is illegal • 633,355 voters + claims and objections= APNUAFC out of government Whichever way it chooses the APNUAFC Coalition caretaker government’s days are numbered. Sincerely Gail Teixeira
ERC called on to monitor, investigate comments made by PNCR sympathizers P
eople’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) sympathizers with voices in the local print media – David Hinds, Lincoln Lewis and Tacuma Ogunseye – and others on social media platforms – Rickford Burke, Mark Benschop and Carwyn Holland – have made increasingly objectionable comments over the past few weeks. People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarian, Juan Edghill, has since called on the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to act. In a letter, dated Monday, July 22, 2019, to ERC Chairman, Rev. John Smith, Edghill said, “We do hereby make request that the Ethnic Relations Commission as
mandated by Article 212 D (j) & (p) of the Constitution of Guyana, the Racial Hostility Act and the Representation of the People’s Act, initiate and or launch monitoring and investigations into the utterances of the aforementioned persons on social media, traditional media and the daily newspapers. “While you may have already observed such patterns, this request is purely for the purpose of ensuring that no Guyanese at home or in the Diaspora are exempt from compliance with the laws of Guyana. “Your work as a Commission to safeguard and promote harmony and good relations among our people should not be un-
dermined by the reckless, irresponsible and racist statements, comments and commentary emanating from these individuals and any other. Unchecked, such unbridled comments and pronouncements can incite and/or excite racial hostility and create an atmosphere of racial tensions, as well as engender racial insecurity.” Edghill stressed that racism in any way, shape or form, whether candid or subtle should not be excused, justified or ignored. “Your recent announcement that your monitoring mechanism is operationalised is noted and welcome,” the PPP/C Parliamentarian said to the ERC Chairman.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
From the desk of Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo...
Guyana Under Review Several issues were addressed a weekly news conference held by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (August 8, 2019), including President David Granger’s response to his call for compliance with the Constitution and the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Granger confirms that he will not comply with Guyana’s Constitution I
n definitive response to to a letter from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo demanding that the President and Cabinet resign and Parliament be dissolved – as is constitutionally required when a No-Confidence Motion is passed against Government, President David Granger continues to insist that he is not required to act in this manner. In a letter written and signed by caretaker President Granger dated July 26, he acknowledged the Opposition Leader’s letter from July 20, in which he demanded the resignation of the President and Cabinet, the dissolution of Parliament, and the naming of an election date. During his Thursday (August 8, 2019) news conference, Jagdeo said, “The President has decided here to say he is not complying with the Constitution….this is what he is saying.” Granger’s letter, dated August 5, 2019, said, “I have
made careful note of your request for the resignation of the Cabinet on the basis of your claim that Article 106 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana required the resignation of the Cabinet and the President.” Jagdeo took Granger to task for saying it is his “claim” that the Constitution specifies what consequences follow the passage of a no-confidence motion. Article 106 (6) of Constitution of Guyana states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”. Meanwhile, Article 106 (7) states: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolu-
tion supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”. Jagdeo said, “It is not about which party you support – it is about sanity and decency.” Granger’s letter also said, “It is my considered opinion that the Caribbean Court of Justice did not issue orders that I should dissolve the National Assembly, fix a date for General and Regional Elections and that is should resign from the Office of President.” In response, Jagdeo said, “The CCJ made it very clear that the Constitution is unambiguous…the government is on borrowed time and they must comply with Article 106 of the Constitution… every sane Guyanese knows that means elections by September 18 2019
“…if you have to hold elections in three months, it follows that you have to dissolve parliament and fix a date for Elections…it is logical reasoning. Granger relies conveniently on the illogic and the insanity of his Attorney General. He knows what the right thing is. He hides behind the public insanity of this official to give a perverse, almost surreal, interpretation of our Constitution.” A No-Confidence Motion was passed against the Granger-led Government on December 21, 2018. However, elections were not held – as was constitutionally required. Instead, Government went to court unsuccessfully arguing that the NCM was not validly passed. The CCJ, having made its final ruling on June 18, 2019, now paves way for General and Regional Elections in September. On July 12, the Court ordered that: Cabinet and President must resign; government
will continue as a caretaker; the APNU+AFC Coalition must restrain the exercise of its legal authority; and that
the three-month Election clock started on June 18, 2019 – meaning Elections by September 18, 2019.
Constitutional rule Coalition challenged again to launch ends on September 18 a CoI into the crime wave T T he APNU+AFC Coalition caretaker government will have no legitimacy after September 18, 2019, declared Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. During his weekly Thursday (August 8, 2019) news conference, he said, “Constitutional rule ends on September…after then the Coalition becomes a usurper.” He reiterated that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) will not be agreeing to any extension of the life of the government. “There will be no extension….the reason is that they have been extended since March 21,” he said. March 21, 2019 was the
three-month deadline for General and Regional Elections to be held, after the December 21, 2018 passage of the no-confidence motion. With the legal challenges finally pronounced on by the Caribbean Court of Justice on June 18, 2019 – ruling that the no-confidence motion was validly passed – the three month deadline re-started on June 18 – meaning Elections have to be held by September 18, 2019 in accordance with the Constitution. Article 106 details the consequences of a successfully passed no-confidence motion – elections in three months.
his week, Attorney General, Basil Williams, parroted old political rhetoric about the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) and the crime wave of the 2000’s. He said, “The PPPC presided over the worst kinds of violence ever seen in the history Guyana or any CARICOM member state…extra-judicial killings conducted by a variety of state-sponsored death squads including the black clothes squad, Gajraj squad, and the phantom squad.” Williams also referred to the Lusignan, Bartica and Lindo Creek massacres. In a stinging rebuke, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (August 8,
2019) said, “If they feel so strongly about these claims, why don’t they have a Commission of Inquiry (CoI)?” He added, “Launch a proper CoI…an international CoI…why haven’t they done this? It is because many of them will be exposed in the reign of terror that hurt our country, until the security forces dealt with it.” For years not, Jagdeo has said that there remains a need for a comprehensive Commission of Inquiry into the crime wave of the 2000’s. He had also repeated the willingness of the Parliamentary Opposition to work with the APNU+AFC Coalition Government to craft the Terms of Reference (ToRs)
for a comprehensive CoI and to select credible commissioners. He charged that in this way, no political party can claim that the other is trying to secure “political mileage” from the findings of the CoI. “Let’s find out the truth,” he said, referring to the devastating incidents at Agricola, Lusignan and Bartica. Jagdeo had decried Granger’s decision to “cherry pick” incidents for investigation, as was done with the Lindo Creek CoI. Jagdeo said the comprehensive Commission of Inquiry into the crime wave should start with the escape of prisoners in 2002 and also seeks to inquire about the
political players in incidents subsequent to the jailbreak, as well as seek to ascertain how army weapons ended up in the hands of criminals. “They can also look at the role of drug dealers and whether the drug dealers had links to the government,” he had said, referring to the criticism repeated by members of the PNC-led Coalition Government, regarding Roger Khan. The Opposition Leader added that if there was a “real” CoI – a comprehensive review of the crime wave – several persons in the Coalition government, including Government Ministers, would be “really” uncomfortable.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
From the desk of Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo...
Guyana Under Review Several issues were addressed a weekly news conference held by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (August 8, 2019), including President David Granger’s response to his call for compliance with the Constitution and the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Coalition’s lack of concern about GECOM must thousands of foreign nationals being decide on way moved through Guyana suspicious forward consistent P with Constitution
esponding to the disclosure a meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh, and the six GECOM Commissioners is set for next week, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, noted that he is hopeful for a positive outcome. During his Thursday (August 8, 2019) news conference, he said, “We hope the Commission will make an early decision – guided by CCJ and Constitution. We hope that GECOM will chose an option to move for-
ward consistent with timeline to deliver credible elections.” The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on June 18, 2019 ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly passed. On July 12, 2019, the Court issued its orders in the case. Among other things, the orders said: • The Cabinet and President must resign; • The David Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition will continue as a caretaker government; • The APNU+AFC Coalition must restrain the ex-
ercise of its legal authority; and • That three-month Election clock started on June 18, 2019 – meaning Elections have to be held by September 18, 2019. GECOM, based on the decision of the illegally appointed, now resigned GECOM Chairman, James Patterson, is pursing new national house-to-house registratioan – which will push Guyana months past the three-month deadline for Elections to be held, following the passage of the no-confidence motion.
New details emerging about lands 'given away' without public tender T he National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) are engaged in practices that have been dubbed criminal by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. “Many people will go to jail,” he said on Thursday (August 8, 2019), referring to new information reaching his office. Jagdeo noted that lands are being given away without any public tender and at “peppercorn” rates. He specifically referred to: lands at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara; lands north of Sparendaam (Pra-
doville 1), East Coast Demerara; lands at Diamond. According to him, lands at Wales, West Bank Demerara, and other lands belonging to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) but vested to NICIL after it secured a $30B bond are also on the chopping block. Jagdeo said, “These are not their assets…these are State assets….it must be accounted for.” He pointed out that unlike what obtained under the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) governments – where every privatization deal from 1992 to the when it left office in 2015 was
public information – there is little transparency when it comes to handling of States Assets. The Opposition Leader warned, “Before the government changes, almost all of the opportunities that are going to available for our people might very well be gone. We might end up as second class citizens in our own country.” He made it clear that the PPP/C is not opposed to investors coming into Guyana, but there must be transparency. “People can come in, but come in transparently and Guyanese must also be given opportunities,” Jagdeo said.
resident David Granger was taken to task by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (August 8, 2019), for the cavalier manner he addressed concerns about people smuggling. Granger on Thursday (August 8, 2019) when asked about the thousands of Haitians, as well as other foreign nationals, coming to Guyana – with no record of them leaving the country – said, “The Minister of Citizenship has been clear what his interpretation is. It seems from the analyses, which have been made available through the government that many Haitians are heading for a third destination. They are not interested in staying here. They are moving on to a third destination…we always have thousands of Venezuelan migrants in the country. We are very concerned about that. We know about the influx of Cubans.” Jagdeo, in response, said, “Which President or Minister will not be concerned that your country is being used to smuggle people in and out…you are not concerned about borders being porous…drugs and weapons can also be moved in and out…which government behaves this way.” The Opposition Leader noted that the matter of thousands of foreign nationals being moved through Guyana is a concern not multiple reasons: concern about borders being porous; concerns about the foreign nationals being exploited; and concerns, from a political angle, about these foreign nationals being given
Guyanese document that can be used to include them in the ongoing house-tohouse registration – something that would compromise Guyana’s electoral system. Jagdeo said, “The Government’s lack of concern make people more suspicious. Over the past two week, the local media corps has been exposing the massive influx of foreign nationals. According to immigration numbers, thousands of Haitians are being ‘brought’ to Guyana. From January to July, it was, 952, 673, 345, 1321, 2010, 1749 and 1552 respectively – a total of over 8,600 Haitians who arrived in the last seven months. They all arrived on flights of the Panamanian-owned Copa Airlines. The “alarming” statistics on the number of Cubans and Haitians who cannot be accounted for, since entering Guyana, caused the Parliamentary Commit-
tee on Foreign Affairs to summon Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, on June 13, 2018 to discuss possible human trafficking. According to the numbers, from 2015 to April 30, 2018, a total of 93,374 Cubans arrived in Guyana, but only 76,663 were recorded to have left. This means that there were 16,711 Cubans still in Guyana. For Haitians, the numbers show that, from 2015 to April 30, 2018, a total of 6,245 arrived in Guyana, but only 963 were recorded to have left. This means that there were 5,282 Cubans still in Guyana. Last year, when this issue came up, Jagdeo stated that the matter will be brought to the attention to the international community, including agencies like the UNDP. “We will bring it to their attention because we believe that this is people smuggling,” he had said.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Perspectives from the PPP/C Presidential Candidate
Proactive steps have not been taken by APNU+AFC Coalition to revitalize forestry sector – Ali O ver the past several years, more so post2016, the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has experienced severe financial difficulties, according to the People’s Progressive Party/
Civic (PPP/C) presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali. “The impacts of this has seen the inability of the GFC to meet core costs such as payment of staff salaries and field expenses. Staff are
feeling the brunt of the effect by having their salaries paid late. In actual fact, this is no fault of the GFC but rather has been as a result of direct government policy that has directly and negatively
affected the sector. It goes without saying that reducing production forest by over 2 million hectares which is a third of productive area allocation pre 2015 will most certainly have a negative impact on forest sector performance, and the GFC has been collateral damage in this process. He lamented the impacts of the Coalition’s policies on the GFC. He said, “It’s a shame what has happened to the GFC and the forest sector and Government must own up to its responsibilities in causing this. Unless proactive steps are taken by Government up revitalize the industry which will have a trickle down positive effect on GFC, the future for the forest sector and GFC staff is uncertain.”
DECLINE IN SECTOR Ali said, “This is as a direct result of the contraction of the industry whereby over two million hectares have been removed from production forest. This has been as a clear consequence of government action and measures. This driving factor has seen the fall in production and export levels within the forest sector and operators struggling to make a profit. Revenues from export and production comprise the main financing streams of the GFC. “…the government has built up so much, the idea of green economy, the GFC is central to this ambition, yet the GFC is being neglected and not supported at all by Government. Ironically the sector is being shrunk without any plan to build back up its capacity. “Guyana’s international reputation on forest and environment has made it stand out at a country that has prioritized forest protection and strong forest management. Guyana’s relationship with
the UK, EU and Norway all exemplify shared goals on natural resources. These are all suffering owing to GFC being stifled.” He noted too that the state of hinterland roads has plagued forest concession holders. “It’s the worst it has ever been with no clear plan on continued upkeep. This frustrates forest operators and the trickle-down effect is poor sector performance and low revenues for GFC,” he said. He noted that the causes of Decline can be linked to: Institution of VAT on machinery and equipment used in the sector; High fuel prices; Deteriorated hinterland roads; Lack of support for community forestry operations; Lack of market; and Reduction in the allocation of State Forest to small and medium scale loggers Production level decline from $10.6B in 2014 to $7.5B in 2018, or 29.2%. Overall, total production loss amounts to more than $17B, which resulted to the decline of export by more than US$48.2M. In 2019 alone the sector is expected to further contract by another $2.9B when compared to 2014. Similarly, export is also projected to contract by another US$8.4M. Output of saw-wood in 2018 declined by 7.1%, which was primarily attributed to poor road and weather conditions (BoG 2018 Annual Report). According to the first quarter report of 2019, output of logs fell by 5.4%. Private investment in the forestry sector in June 2015 amounted to $1.09B. However, in June 2019 the amount was a mere $300M, which represent a reduction by 70%. HUMAN IMPACT The PPP/C presidential
candidate said the forestry sector directly employs more than 22,000 people, of which most are low skilled workers. Ali said, “In most Amerindian villages, logging is one of the main source of income especially if they are directly engaged in the timber production business. Since taking up office in 2015, the forestry sector has greatly ostracized small and medium scale loggers. What is even more daunting, is the fact that these individuals are all low income earners, with jobs ranging from chain-saw operators to road cutters. And bear in mind, given the current situation, their average monthly salary now fluctuates between $40,000 to $70,000 for a productive month. “However, during the raining season, which unfortunately corresponds to the period of low productivity, the expense of these workers in some cases outstrips total income, leading to indebtedness. “In Amerindian villages such as St. Cuthbert’s Mission and Moraikobai, where the reservations are virtually exhausted of commercially viable species of wood, to date no attempt has been made by the government to provide alternative state forest areas for loggers to continue their operation. He explained that at the local level, these workers play an important role in stimulating small businesses. “By the mere fact that they are low income earners, their propensity to save are miniscule, rendering them effective in boosting consumption.” The PPP/C presidential candidate stressed that more needs to be done to ensure that the wellbeing of tens of families and hundreds of residents, who are directly affected, are addressed.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Ali engages Guyanese during Emancipation celebrations
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
PPP/C details priorities to be included in Manifesto ahead of General and Regional Elections The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders is working on a detailed Manifesto, which will elaborate on the Party’s policies for improving the lives of all Guyanese.
Some of the priority actions of the next PPP/C Government will be to: 1. Restore– the $10,000 cash grant to school children. The APNU+AFC took away $1.67B per year, a total of $8.35B from Guyanese children. 2. Reinstate the water subsidies to pensioners. The APNU+AFC removed $500M in subsidies per year amounting to a $2.5B burden that had to be paid by our elderly. 3. Reverse VAT on essential services including water, electricity, and health care. The APNU+AFC imposed this on Citizens which led to billions in tax collection from Guyanese people and escalated the cost of living. 4. Reopen the closed sugar estates. Over 7,000 persons lost their jobs directly and another 4,000 lost their livelihoods indirectly. 5. Restore zero-rated VAT for machinery and equipment for agricultural, mining and forestry industries. For example, a tractor or excavator now attracts in excess of $5M in additional taxes. 6. Reverse cost of license and permits for doing business and accessing Government services. The APNU + AFC increased over 200 fees, e.g. vending licenses increased from $12,500 to a burdensome $65,000. This, added to the cost of living, hampered small business development. 7. Reverse land rents and drainage and irrigation charges. These have moved up in varying degrees, from $2,500 to $293,000 per acre, a policy that is suffocating many sectors including agriculture and tourism. 8. Remove age limits on vehicles. The APNU+AFC added at least $1M to the cost per vehicle, an unnecessary hardship for those aspiring to own a vehicle, especially young people. 9. Remove the restriction on used tyres. The imposition of this restriction increased the cost of tyres by 300%. 10. Reverse VAT on exports. 11. Reverse VAT on building materials. 12. Reinstate the joint services bonus. The APNU+AFC in a Grinch-like move took away the Christmas bonus from the joint services. 13. Remove VAT on data. The APNU+AFC has taxed the internet and your cell phone data. 14. Reverse the 2 A.M curfew. The arrogant implementation of this measure has not helped to address the noise nuisance issue and has affected quality of life and hurt job creation and businesses.
In addition to correcting these draconian impositions, the next PPP/C Government pledges to: 1. Create 50,000 jobs in the first five years. 2. Assist small businesses through the implementation of programmes to help small businesses grow by providing technical advice, small grants, loans, and training for workers. Women entrepreneurship will receive special attention. 3. Deliver 8,000 to 10,000 new house lots per year. 4. Implement a programme for affordable financing for home ownership. 5. Deliver quality health care and end drug shortages. 6. Improve the quality of and access to education at every level including offering 20,000 persons online University education. 7. Implement measures to expand the capability and increase the effectiveness of the security forces so that people can once again feel protected in their homes, on the streets and in workplaces. 8. Create conditions for our young people to prosper, realise their dreams and to involve them in all levels of Government. 9. Ensure better working conditions and remuneration for teachers, healthcare workers and other public servants. 10. Improve infrastructure (roads, wharves, bridges, airstrips, drainage etc) in Georgetown, other Towns and Villages across Guyana. 11. Extend and improve Government services and ICT on the Coast and in the Hinterland. 12. Ensure that revenue from Oil and Gas is not squandered and stolen and leads to the improvement of the lives of ALL GUYANESE. 13. Create the conditions and strengthen the institutions to expand and protect the civil, cultural and human rights of all Guyanese. 14. Improve governance, including expanding and strengthening measures aimed at fighting corruption. 15. Protect our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The PPP/C has said that it is time to restore Guyana to the path of progress and prosperity. Since taking office, the APNU+AFC cabal has put forward five budgets, spent $1.3 trillion, borrowed US $ 900M and increased taxes by approximately $88B per annum. They are spending every year $1.6 B more for food allowances, $1.1B more for rentals, $1.2B more for local travel among other things, as part of their extravagant lifestyle. Meanwhile over 30,000 Guyanese have lost their jobs. The cost of living has skyrocketed and health care, education and quality of life have deteriorated rapidly.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
PPP/C team in Region 1 outreach Dozens of Mabaruma residents had an opportunity to engage a team of People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarians – Juan Edghill, Dr. Frank Anthony and Yvonne Pearson – this week. The team in in Region 1 as part of the PPP/C continued national outreach.
Ramjattan greeted by protests in Mahaica
PPP/C presidential candidate engages Upper Mazaruni residents
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Real Time Economic Insights (An analysis of Guyana’s economic performance)
The numbers tell the story N
otwithstanding the growth in Gross Domestic Product of 4.1 per cent, the economy in 2018 was riddled with increased risks and underperformances in a several major indus-
tries – gold, sugar, and rice. Finance Minister, Winston Jordon, claims that the growth in the economy was spread across sectors can be contradicted. Rice production de-
clined by 0.5 percent to approximately 626,684 tonnes. Total gold declaration declined by 6.2 percent and represented 83.3 percent of the targeted amount of 736,000 troy ounces for
2018. This level of production reflected lower declarations. During 2018, sugar output decreased by 23.8 percent due to the closure of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) estates, among
other changes. Also, according to Bank of Guyana, the Guyanese economy in 2018 saw increasing risks stemming from the lack of trade confidence, among other factors.
A closure look at the sugar sector and mining sectors, as well as the state of Guyana’s international and gold reserves, expose the failures of the APNU+AFC Coalition.
SUGAR PRODUCTION Sugar output decreased by 23.8 percent in 2018 due to closure of several sugar estates and lesser supply of quality canes. During the first quarter 2019, sugar output declined by 34.3 percent with the restructuring of GUYSUCO.
MINING AND QUARRYING PRODUCTION The mining sector improved by 2.9 percent following an 8.8 percent decline in 2017. This outturn was due to the increase in bauxite output and quarrying activities which offset the shortfall in gold declarations. In the first quarter of 2019, the mining and quarrying sector registered lower production, reflecting a decline in declaration of gold by 4.9 percent. This outturn was due to lower output by the two foreign gold mining companies by 15.0 percent. Troy Resources output declined by 40.4 percent while Guyana Goldfields Inc. output increased marginally by 1.0 percent. In contrast, the local gold miners’ declarations was higher by 3.6 percent. The production of bauxite contracted by 24.4 percent due to major industrial unrest at RUSAL operations. RESERVES Bank of Guyana International Reserves for the period January to May 2019 amounted to US$524.5M. This represent a decrease of 0.74% in the reserves held by BOG when compared to 2018. Bank of Guyana Gold Reserves for the period January to May 2019 amounted to G$2,702M. This represent an increase Note: The 2019 statistics represents data as at May 2019. of 26.4% in the reserves held by BOG when compared to 2018.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
City Hall in Focus Georgetown City Council’s appetite for money can be likened to a bottomless pit ‒ No serious discussion on value for money By Bishram Kuppen
he day after Mayor Ubraj Narine made a statement that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) did not assist the Georgetown City Council with drainage in Georgetown, the City was graced with a healthy downpour of rain which flooded a number of areas in the City as if to mock the Mayor for his statement. The PPP/C government had poured billions of dollars into the City Council and had supplied garbage trucks, dumpsters /skip bins, financial bailouts, repaired the Council’s roads, purchased land to extend the Stabroek market and much more. In addition, just prior to the
general elections in 2015, the PPP/C government had spent $500 million dollars to clean up Georgetown which had already been branded the Garbage City by our citizens. And all of the efforts by the PPP/C government to assist the Council were usually resisted or reportedly sabotaged in many cases for political reasons by the PNC-controlled City Council. But permit me to digress for a moment to look at where the responsibility and failures lie for the state in which the City Council finds itself and the pitiful level of service it offers to residents and stakeholders. What has been very baffling to many citizens especially when they consider the horrible state of the Municipality of Georgetown over last twenty years, is the fact that the very same group which is responsible for the gross mismanagement and rampant corruption at the Council, is the same group which gets re-elected at local government elections. And I mean the PNC which maintains a majority and has also controlled the City Council since Guyana’s in-
dependence. Never mind their name changes or temporary groupings over the years, it is the same PNC in charge at City Council to this day. And the relationship between the City Council and the residents and stakeholders could be likened to an abusive relationship where taxes and fees are demanded from these residents and stakeholders but where the City Council consistently fails to provide the mandated services. Instead, what is provided is shoddy, irregular, inadequate, inefficient and unprofessional services by the City Council on top of its consistent failure to account for all of its revenues and expenditures. A very important fact is usually overlooked by many citizens which is that the Municipality of Georgetown is controlled by the Georgetown City Council. And the City Council keeps all of the money which it collects from rates & taxes, markets and other fees, and none of this money is handed over to the government; total revenues of the City Council amounts to approximately three billion dollars annually. In addition, the govern-
ment usually give grants or other assistance to the Council which could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars as was the case when the government intervened on a number of occasions to pay the garbage contractors and to purchase equipment. But no matter how much money the Georgetown City Council collects in revenues or receives in subventions from the government, it is never enough. The Georgetown City Council’s appetite for money can be likened to a bottomless pit. In my years at the City Council, there has never been any serious discussion or implementation of cost-cutting initiatives, but just an incessant chorus being bellowed of the need for more money. They could never fully account for all of the taxpayers money which they spent and this is evidenced by repeated reports to this effect from the Auditor General of Guyana. In addition there are many areas of revenue leakages. Just recently, a bag containing revenue collected from the Markets was found in a Council vehicle and even though it had been in that vehicle for close to one month, it was not missed by anyone, not even the City Treasurer
who is responsible for the collecting and depositing of all of the Council’s revenues. Mayor Ubraj Narine should be reminded that it is his PNC comrades who have controlled the City Council for decades and they have failed miserably to effectively manage the Council. They have presided over decades of lawlessness, corrupt acts and financial irregularities at the Georgetown City Council. And their corruption and gross mismanagement has led to a massive accumulation of debt to contractors, suppliers and utility companies which amounts to billions of dollars. None of this information was made public before because they operated in secretive ways and they were also handing out contracts verbally to favourite contractors worth tens of millions of dollars. It was only through years of pressure from residents and other stakeholders that a Commission of Inquiry was held into the operations of the City Council and which the PPP/C Commissioners on the Local Government
Commission had strongly supported. It was fortunate that the Chairman of the COI has the foresight to publicly disclose the important contents of the report instead of submitting it without public comment, to the APNU+AFC controlled Local Government Commission which may have served to prevent any potential cover-up of the findings. The PNC+APNU+AFC have allowed the buildings owed by the Council to fall apart due to gross incompetence and neglect including the iconic City Hall building which is now in a dilapidated state. The Mayor, like his counterparts in government, has been making lofty statements but taking actions which are outside of his authority. His recent actions reveal a trait that is similar to his peers in the PNC such as when he, as a non-executive Mayor, recently exceeded his authority to make on-the-spot promotions of senior officers of the City Constabulary without any discussions or approvals by the full Council.
Holding the APNU+AFC Coalition to account – a review of local happenings
Why the procrastination? By Anil Nandlall, PPP/C MP
n paper, retired Justice Claudette Singh is as qualified and suitable as any, for the appointment as the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). I personally witnessed her taking the Oath of Office. I heard her pledge that “… I will faithfully execute the office of the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission without fear or favour, affection or ill will and that in the execution of the functions of that office,
I will honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.” In a Facebook post, I stated that all I expect is the faithful discharge of that oath, nothing less and nothing more. I cannot imagine any rational Guyanese harbouring a different expectation. Perhaps with the exception of the former Chief Justice, Ian Chang SC, I do not think that there is another Judge in Guyana who has delivered more written judgements on matters touching and concerning the Constitution over the past three decades, than Justice
Singh. Justice Singh bears the distinction of being the only Judge in post-independent Guyana to have conducted a trial of an elections petition, culminating in both an expansive written judgement, as well as consequential orders, which included, fixing a timeframe within which Regional and General Elections must be held: See the elections petition filed by Esther Pereira: a challenge to the 1997 Regional and General Elections. In that trial, Justice Singh had the opportunity of forensically examining and analyzing Guyana’s electoral machinery at work, from
the start to the end and all the legislative and constitutional provisions attendant thereto. Justice Singh took the Oath of Office on the 30th July 2019, and having regard to the current constitutional exigencies, I am compelled to express my disappointment that the first meeting of the full Commission is scheduled to take place over two weeks hence. I must make it clear that the legal proceeding filed by Christopher Ram, pending before the Chief Justice (ag), cannot and does not affect or impede the Commission from
meeting and discharging its constitutional mandate, having regard to the consequential orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). In all the attempts to distort, misinterpret and misrepresent what those consequential orders are, no one can dispute that the CCJ ruled (para 9 f): “Upon the passage of this motion of no confidence in the Government, the clear provisions of Article 106 immediately became engaged;” and that all the actors, including GECOM, are bound by the Constitution and must obey it. With her vast experience, undoubted judicial erudi-
tion and axiomatic forensic legal acumen, Justice Claudette Singh needs no assistance in interpreting the judgment and consequential orders of the CCJ, their implications, and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. She is capable than most of so doing. I must emphasize that the proceeding instituted by Ram, were done at a time when there was no Chairman of GECOM. But yet, the Chief Elections Officer chose, on the 20th July 2019, to begin the execution of an order of the erstwhile Chairman, which was clearly (Turn to back page)
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Key issues on holding Meeting of the full Commission of timely Elections raised with set for August 15 GECOM Chairperson – Gunraj Thebeingwaymade forward, relative to key decisions sioner, Sase Gunraj, disclosed that a meeting by the Guyana Elections is set for Thursday, August 15, 2019.
meeting last Wednesday (July 31, 2019) between the Opposition-nominated Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) – Bibi Shaddick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj – and the newly appointed GECOM Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh, saw key matters being raised. Gunraj, speaking to the Mirror, explained that among the issues discussed were those relating to ensuring elections are held by the constitutionally mandated time period – that is September 18, 2019. He said, “We discussed, the current case that is before the court, vis a vie the conduct of House to House Registration; the need for elections as mandated by the constitution and we reiterated by the rulings of the CCJ;
and the methods by which we can achieve elections in the shortest possible time is to refresh the official list of electors by the use of a Claims and Objections period.” Gunraj added, “The Chair is a former judge and I don’t think I need to go into details with a Judge’s continence, that being said, it is my duty to present the arguments to convince her in a particular direction.” The CCJ on June 18, 2019 ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly passed. On July 12, 2019, the Court issued its orders in the case. Among other things, the orders said: The Cabinet and President must resign; The David Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition will continue as a caretaker government; The
APNU+AFC Coalition must restrain the exercise of its legal authority; and that threemonth Election clock started on June 18, 2019 – meaning Elections have to be held by September 18, 2019. None of these have been done – representing open defiance of the Caribbean Court of Justice – Guyana’s final Court. Additionally, as per Guyana’s Constitution, General and Regional Elections have to be held within three months of the passage of a no-confidence motion. Given the legal fight over the validity of no-confidence motion, the CCJ – Guyana’s final Court – made clear that the three-month timeline re-started as of June 18, 2018 when the court ruled that the passage of the no-confidence motion was valid.
Court ruling on house-to-house registration challenge set for August 14
cting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire is expected to make a ruling next Wednesday, August 14, 2019, on the challenge by Christopher Ram to the ongoing house-to-house registration exercise. The judge is also expected to rule on the application filed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for her to recuse herself from hearing Ram’s challenge as well as the application made by Attorney General Basil Williams, who has asked that Ram’s challenge to house-tohouse registration be struck out. Justice George-Wiltshire, on Monday (August 5, 2019) heard submissions from Williams; Solicitor-General Nigel Hawke; Ram’s attorney and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall; and attorney Sanjeev Datadin on behalf of the Guyana Bar Association. Nandlall in comments said, “We have submitted that for the court, for the House to House registration process to be continued to its conclusion would jeopardize significantly, the holding of elections within the time frame contemplated by the Caribbean Court of Justice and Article 106 and Article 106(7) of the Constitution. “Also, the House to House Registration itself in the manner in which it is being conducted is illegal. Why? Because they are proceeding to retire or throw away the entire database
existing and re - registering people de novo, meaning from the inception. The law does not provide for that. Once you are on the list you can only be removed from the list on certain grounds which the law states what those grounds are. You cannot whimsically and capriciously be taken off the list, if for example, you are not home when the registration officer comes, so that is the illegal part of it. “Then you have the unconstitutional aspect of it, where, that if you take persons illegally off the list or if you take persons that are already registered off the list then you are in effect denying them their right to vote. Their right to vote is a constitutional right and the constitution does not provide residency as a qualification to vote. Therefore if you are in Suriname or Trinidad or if you are vacationing in the US and the registration officer comes to your house and you are no there, they are not going to put your name on the list. And since they are scraping the existing list that means that you are completely off and you can’t vote. They will be denying will be denying you your constitutional right to vote. “…we are dealing basically here with the registration process and significantly that registration process cannot be completed for the holding of elections within the timeframe. We are al-
ready on borrowed time. As you would have heard we go through the CCJ judgment, the time for holding elections was the 21st March 2019. That has long gone. “The Leader of the Opposition has signaled repeatedly that we are not going to go back to Parliament to get an extension so that option is unavailable. The point is that a court of law must do something, do that which is necessary to bring back Guyana to the Constitutional track and to constitutional rule and the way they must do so, the way that the court must do so is to order elections within the earliest possible time and GECOM must be prepared for those elections.” Ram’s attorneys asked the court to declare that the registration exercise is in violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the judgment and consequential orders made by Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ) in the consolidated cases stemming from the passage of a no-confidence motion against government last December. The application argues that since passage of the motion against the David Granger-led administration, neither the Cabinet nor President has resigned; nor has the Head of State issued a proclamation dissolving the National Assembly or fix a date for elections to be held within the three months as is stipulated by Article 106 of the Constitution.
Commission (GECOM), will be clearer when the full Commission meets. Asked about a commitment on the way forward from the GECOM Chairperson, the Opposition-nominated GECOM Commis-
Several issues, including the continuance of house-to-house registration, will be up for discussion at the meeting that will be headed by the new GECOM Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh.
PNCR, gov’t GECOM Commissioners admit that final decision on HTH lies with Chairperson T he Government-nominated Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman – have been insisting on the continuation of a new national house-to-house registration. However, in the last few days, there has been something of a change in their position. The trio after a meeting with the GECOM Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh, admitted and accepted that a decision on whether houseto-house registration continues is one for Singh to make. Lowenfield, on July 23, 2019, admitted that the last valid List of Electors, as of April 30, 2019, can be refreshed via a Claims and Objections period and used for new General and Regional Elections. He said, “If a claims and objections exercise is to be used, then that will form the basis of a preliminary list.” Asked specifically if the last Valid List can be used to conduct a free and fair Elections, Lowenfield said, “That is correct.” Lowenfield’s comments this week mirror those he made in February this year. On February 5, 2018, Lowenfield, declared that a short period of Claims and Objections can refresh the validity of the Voters’ List. “We can move toward the conduct, as I said yesterday, of a claims and objections exercise of a duration to be specified by the Commission so that we can arrive at a list,” Lowenfield had said. Also on February 5, 2019, he stated too that the last Valid List of Electors was “clean” – a sentiment echoed by all the political parties who contested the November 12, 2018 Local
UNDER PRESSURE Under increasing pressure, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) also made similar comments to that of the Government-nominated GECOM Commissioners on house-tohouse registration. The PNCR Vice Chairman, Dr George Norton, at a press conference last Friday (August 2, 2019), said that the APNU+AFC Coalition will “certainly take into consideration, decisions that is made by the Commission [and] Chairman of the Commission that we support.” What new national house-to-house registration means is that the names of all eligible Guyanese voters currently on the National Register of Registrants (NRR) will be deleted – the country will be starting from zero to create a new database of voters. The NRR is what is used to extract a Preliminary List of Voters, which is then subject to approval before the Official List of Electors to be used at a General and Regional Elections is produced. In addition to starting from zero, new national house-to-house registration, will see persons who are not currently in Guyana – students studying abroad, Guyanese working overseas or Guyanese on holiday for a few months – being de-registered. COMPLIANCE General and Regional Elections are due by September 18, 2019, in line with the three-month deadline that was triggered with the passage of the no-confidence motion last December. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s final court, made it clear that the
no-confidence motion was validly passed and the threemonth clock started on June 18, 2019 – the date of the CCJ ruling. House-to-House registration was started on July 20, 2019, with an end date of October 20, 2019 – a total of 93 days – as per the June 11, 2019 Order signed by the illegally appointed, now resigned, GECOM Chairman, James Patterson. Of note is that the June 11, 2019 Order was only made public on July 17, 2019 – raising questions as to whether it was backdated or hidden from the attention of the Guyanese people. According to GECOM’s work plan, house-to-house registration was supposed to start on June 2, 2019 and run until December 20, 2019. The fact is that house-tohouse registration started on July 20, 2019 – a total of 48 days later than the June 2, 2019 planned start date. This means that the new end date for house-to-house registration – based on the GECOM’s work plan – would be February 6, 2019 – just to get a new National Register of Registrants. It would then take another several months before an Official List of Electors is ready. As such, this is the major problem with the house-tohouse registration; that the exercise will move Guyana into 2020, long after General and Regional Elections are constitutionally due. The position of the Parliamentary Opposition is that the CCJ ruling and orders make it clear that GECOM must comply with the Constitution – meaning it must ready itself for Elections within three months – and, as such, the CCJ’s ruling and the Order to initiate houseto-house registration.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Focus on Guyana’s First People Op-Ed: APNU+AFC Coalition’s promise of a ‘good life’ exposed as a nothing but a ‘good lie’ By Alister Charlie, Ppp/C Parliamentarian
he People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration during its tenure had evidently transformed the lives of the Amerindians and hinterland residents through specially designed hinterland programmes. Numerous socio-economic initiatives were implemented ushering in qualitative changes for the wellbeing of all Amerindians and hinterland residents in Guyana. Primarily, the ultimate goal of these developmental projects was to make Amerindian communities in the hinterland self-sufficient. WATER Amerindians and hinterland residents benefited under the Hinterland Water Improvement Programme which was inclusive of the construction of gravity feed systems, installation of photovoltaic systems, and drilling of medium depth wells across the hinterland. PRESIDENTIAL GRANT The PPP/C government had provided the necessary funds for presidential grants which had significantly impacted Amerindian communities. The presidential grants had allowed many villages to implement generating projects.
LAND TITLING AND DEMARCATION The implementation of the US$10.7M Land Titling project which had provided absolute grants and certificates of title to Amerindian communities was moving apace. This programme began in 2013 and had targeted 45 Amerindian villages and the process would have been completed. HOUSING Hinterland communities had also benefitted from the national housing programme. Under the Second Low Income Settlement Programme, 122 houses were constructed and 86 roofs refurbished in eight communities in Regions One and Nine. Amerindian communities such as White Water, Manawarin and Oronoque in Region One, and Kwatamang, Central Annai, Massara, Katoka and Apoteri in Region Nine were among the Amerindian communities that benefitted. HINTERLAND ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME More than 80% of the hinterland communities were provided with electricity, under the Hinterland Electrification Programme which was successfully launched in 2014, and the implementation of grid systems in Madhia,
Port Kaituma, Lethem and Matthews Ridge. Selected hinterland and coastal riverain communities was projected to benefit from an additional 6000, 65 watt photovoltaic systems. EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES Amerindian and hinterland pupils and students were provided with the necessary infrastructure which had enabled them to receive the quality of education for their development. Spread across the hinterland regions are approximately 250 schools that were constructed under the PPP/C government’s tenure, inclusive of the Annai Secondary School and dormitory, Aishalton Secondary School and dormitory and Sand Creek Secondary School and dormitory in Region Nine. Paramakatoi Primary School and the Kato Secondary School and dormitory, both in Region Eight and Waramadong Secondary School and dormitory in Region Seven. Secondary education was easily accessible as there were secondary schools constructed in all hinterland regions accompanying dorms to cater for hinterland students from far off areas. SOCIAL ASSISTANCE The National School Feeding and Uniform programmes,
were aiding thousands of Amerindian and hinterland pupils and students, providing them with hot meals, and school uniforms. The programme had positively impacted pupils and students school attendance and performance. Each student in the public school benefitted from the PPP/C government “Because We Care” $10,000 Cash Grant - an initiative as a further incentive to ensure children attend school. HINTERLAND SCHOLARSHIP The Hinterland Scholarship Programme had provided academic programmes, both at the secondary and tertiary levels for Amerindian and hinterland students annually. TRANSPORTATION BOOST Amerindian communities had benefitted from transportation assistance in the form of buses, All Terrain Vehicles, boats and engines and pick-ups to aid in community projects, transport pupils and students to school, medical emergencies among others. Tractors and trailers were also given to Amerindian villages to boost agriculture ventures and were also used to transport villagers to market. ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE In order to create greater
linkages between Amerindian communities and improve access to goods and services in the hinterland, the PPP/C administration had invested huge sums on the establishment of new roads and maintenance of existing one. There was easier accessibility due to the improved road network. HEALTH The PPP/C administration had ensured Amerindians and hinterland residents receive the much needed healthcare which was seen through the expansion of hospitals, health huts and centres in every hinterland community. 53 of these facilities are in Region one, 27 in Region Seven, 23 in Region Eight, 56 in Region Nine, and 29 in Region Ten. These are inclusive of the Regional Hospitals at Lethem, Mabaruma and Kumaka. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLANS Community Development Plans (CDPs) were aimed at securing livelihood options for Amerindian communities under the Amerindian Development Fund of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. In its first phase, Amerindian communities benefitted from a funding of up to $5M each, to embark on projects in the areas of agriculture and tourism among others.
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT – YEAP The Youth Empowerment and Apprenticeship Programme was aimed at developing young Amerindians in various skill areas, 1972 youths were recruited as Community Support Officers in various regions where Amerindians reside. ICT In an effort to ensure every Guyanese inclusive of the Amerindians has access to Information Communication Technology, the PPP/C administration initiated the One Laptop Per Family Programme. Computer Hubs were in the process of installation in every Amerindian community. It is evident that the Amerindians and Hinterland residents have been enjoying a better standard of living under the PPP/C administration. The APNU+AFC Coalition’s posturing and pretensions are not fooling the Amerindians and hinterland residents since the pledged promise of a “good life” is seen a nothing but a “good lie”. Today, Amerindians and hinterland residents live the reality of hardships and toil under difficult circumstances since the coalition government took office.
Coalition buckles to pressure from PPP/C ‒ VAT on hinterland airline tickets, freight removed
ince 2016, when Value Added Tax (VAT) was contemplated on hinterland airline tickets and freight, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) made clear its objections. VAT on hinterland airline tickets and freight came into effect on February 1, 2017. For the last few years, the APNU+AFC Coalition Government has refused to respond to the calls for the VAT on airfare and freight to be removed – particularly in the period when the Coalition was not a caretaker government following the passage of the no-confidence motion. Months ago, the PPP/C in detailing several of the
priority actions once it wins Elections and takes office, promised the removal of this hardship measure affecting Amerindians and hinterland residents. The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), in a public notice over the weekend said, “Following an agreement between the Government of Guyana and Air Services Limited, the Guyana Revenue Authority wishes to advise air service operators that NO VAT shall be charged on airfares to transport passengers or goods to/from airstrips listed below.” A few of the 54 listed locations are located in Regions One (Barima-Waini),
Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). They include Achiwib, Aishalton, Annai, Baramita, Chenpau, Dadanawa, Iwokrama, Kamarang, Kato, Monkey Mountain, Orinduik, Paramakatoi and Waramadong. The notice added, “Pursuant to the Agreement, VAT is also EXEMPT from airfares to transport passengers or goods to ANY OTHER rural airstrip, provided that satisfactory evidence is submitted to the company that the passenger is living in the rural area.” There was no date to indicate when the new decision takes effect.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Focus on Guyana’s First People Trotman unresponsive to complaints about Linden/Lethem road – Region 9 Vice Chair T
he Linden to Lethem trail is proving to be too time-consuming and even dangerous given the current rainy season coupled with the damages being done by loggers whose heavy-laden trucks destroy the pathways, according to Regional Vice Chairman (VC) of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), Carl Singh. He explained that on a regular day, a trip from Lethem to Linden would average between 12 and 15 hours. However, at present, given the deplorable state of this route, it takes almost twice as long to travel to and from those locations. “Now it is taking 20 to 24 or 25 hours. I drove out of
town a few days ago, a land cruiser took 20 to 22 hours. I even had to pull about four minibuses that had trouble on the road with my vehicle,” he said. According to the Regional VC, the Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC) is conducting some work on the trail but is not enough. Singh further stated that in light of the numerous complaints by persons travelling that route along with complaints by the bus operators, his Regional Office had both spoken and written to the Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, more than six weeks ago about the pressing issue but there has been no feedback.
Just two months ago, several minibus operators plying the Lethem and Mahdia routes complained bitterly to this publication about the deteriorating conditions of the trail which they are forced to use to transport passengers and goods as a means of earning their daily bread. The bus operators described the trail as a “death trap” and bashed the Public Infrastructure Ministry for paying zero interest in conducting long-term repairs to that trail which is the only access to those areas. The trail has been in a deteriorated state for years and worsens during the rainy seasons after which
minor substandard repairs are done on certain patches and the problem continues
to recur. The APNU+AFC Coalition has repeatedly failed
to address the condition of the road and plans for its maintenance.
Main access bridge to Kamwatta blocked, authorities unresponsive R esidents in Kamwatta, Region 1, are bemoaning the blocking of the main access bridge to the village, as well as damage to the bridge. Kamwatta Toshao,
Morris Henry, told the Mirror Newspaper that the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) had done work in the area last week, but completed this work since last Saturday (August 3, 2019).
He said, “They finished the work. But going on a week now there are two trucks that are blockin the only bridge into the village. One of the trucks damage the bridge badly.
“I reported on Tuesday (August 6, 2019), but nothing has been done so far. “Right now people who have to take things to the market cannot get
The two trucks blocking the main access to Kamwatta, with one causing major damage to the primary bridge
to the market. The tractor to move lumber cannot get anywhere. Also, we have a child sick who is very sick, with vomiting and diarrhea, but we have trouble getting to the hospital.”
The Tos hao charged that with no assistance the village is left in a difficult position. “We need something to be done urgency. This is what we are facing now,” he lamented.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Timeline of what happened since December 21, 2018 21st December 2018: • Motion was successfully carried by the National Assembly by a vote of 33 (Parliamentary Opposition) to 32 (Government). • The Prime Minister accepts the Government had fallen 22nd December 2018: • President Granger via the Ministry of the Presidency accepts that the Government has fallen and vows to follow the Constitution. • GECOM Secretariat holds meeting to address preparations for Elections. 23rd December 2018: • Nigel Hughes publicly argues new calculation on the majority of the National Assembly [65/2=32.5, roundup to 1 = 33, add one =34]
27th December 2018: • GECOM secretariat announces, via Public Relations Office, Yolanda Warde, they can hold election in the mandated timeframe. (Article published by Guyana Chronicle - http:// guyanachronicle.com/2018/12/27/gecomready-for-elections) 2nd January 2019: • AG Basil Williams writes to the Speaker to reverse his decision.
3rd January 2019: • Parliament meets to deal with the consequences of the passage of the no-confidence motion • The Speaker refuses to reverse his decision and further instructed that the motion stands 5th – 7th January 2019: AT GUYANA’S HIGH COURT • Compton Reid, private citizen, files a challenge to the passage of the motion using dual citizenship argument • Basil Williams files to challenge the majority of the National Assembly • Chris Ram files that the government should uphold the motion and call elections
9th January 2019: • 18 days after the passage of the motion President Granger meets with the Leader of the Opposition. • A joint communication came out of this meeting: ■ It was agreed that the two Chief Whips will meet with GECOM. ■ Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield refuses to meet, preferring the Chairman to meet the two Chief Whips.
31st January 2019: • (GUYANA’S HIGH COURT) The Chief Justice makes her ruling on all the matters before her: ■ 33 is the majority; ■ The government stood resigned in keeping with the article 106 (6) and (7); ■ Dual citizens are not eligible to be candidates and Members of Parliament, however, Charandass Persaud’s vote is valid in accordance with electoral laws and art 165; ■ A challenge to the eligibility of an elected Member to Parliament, including dual citizens, must be challenged by an election petition in the High Court within 28 days after elections.
5th February, 2019: AT GUYANA’S APPEAL COURT • The Government files its appeals to reverse the Chief Justice rulings in the Court of Appeal. The President makes clear that if the Appeal Court does not rule in the Government’s favour it will take the matters to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
5th February, 2019: • GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, declares that a short period of Claims and Objections can refresh the validity of the Voters’ List. “We can move toward the conduct, as I said yesterday, of a claims and objections exercise of a duration to be specified by the Commission so that we can arrive at a list,” Lowenfield had said. • GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, declares that the last Valid List of Electors was “clean” – a sentiment echoed by all the political parties who contested the November 12, 2018 Local Government Elections.
8th February, 2019: • The Chairman of GECOM during a press conference where the Commission stated that it needed 148 days to prepare for elections. 25th February, 2019: • GECOM asked by the Government to provide a work plan, 66 days after the passage of the no-confidence motion. 6th March, 2019: • Leader of the Opposition once again meets with the President and proposes a face- saving device to the President in the interest of averting a constitutional crisis. The Parliamentary Opposition proposes that it would give its support for a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly in accordance with article 106(7) to extend the time for elections to be held on or before April 30, 2019, when the voters’ list expires. This was conditional
that no new contracts/agreements are signed by the government in the interim and it is “not business as usual.” This proposal was ignored and rebuffed. President Granger stated that he was not prepared to call elections until: (a) the Voters’ List is ‘sanitized’; and (b) the legal processes are concluded. The Government continued in its current ‘business as usual’ mode. 8th March, 2019: • President meets with GECOM commissioners • Opposition-nominated GECOM commissioners present a work plan which was rejected. However, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, informally, accepts copy of the work plan that caters for Elections within 50 days. 19th March, 2019: • The Chairman of GECOM writes to the President requesting more funds for elections and advising elections could not be held sooner than the end of November 2019 after House to House Registration. 22nd March, 2019: • The Government held office illegally for 16 hours • (GUYANA’S APPEAL COURT) The Court of Appeal in a three judge court made a ruling: ■ 2/3 Judges stated that 34 is the majority, making an absurd argument of absolute and simple majority. ■ 3/3 Judges agreed that dual citizens should not sit in parliament ■ 3/3 Judges stated that Charandass’ vote was valid 26th March, 2019: • The Parliamentary Opposition moved to appeal the Court of Appeal rulings in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). 27th March, 2019: AT THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE • The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and others move to the Caribbean Court of Justice to challenge the Appeal Court ruling on the no-confidence motion case • Zulfikar Mustapha moves to the Caribbean Court of Justice to challenge the Appeal Court ruling on the unilateral appointment of a GECOM Chairman.
29th March, 2019: AT THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE Case management conference held. Decisions are as follows: • Challenges related to the validity of the no-confidence motion are to be consolidated. • Challenge to unilaterally appointed GECOM Chairman is set for hearing.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
8th May, 2019: AT THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE • Hearing of the unilateral appointment’s case
Brigadier David Granger, President of Guyana was flawed and in breach of Guyana’s Constitution.”
Ram. Representing Ram is former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, and former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran.
9th and 10th May, 2019: AT THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE • Hearing of the consolidated cases related to the challenge of the validity to the no-confidence motion.
12th July, 2019: • (CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE - ORDER) In the matter of the unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman, the Court said, (Paragraph 3) It is now a matter of the greatest public importance that the President and the Leader of the Opposition should, as soon as possible, embark upon and conclude the process of appointing a new GECOM Chairman. This imperative is now of the utmost urgency in light of our decision in the no confidence motion cases that the motion was validly passed thereby triggering the need for fresh general elections.
23rd July, 2019: • While the Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition has been insisting that there can be no move to General and Regional Elections without a new national house-to-house registration process to create a new Voters List, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, under pressure, has admitted that this is not so. When pressed by the media on Tuesday (July 23, 2019), he admitted that the last valid List of Electors, as of April 30, 2019, can be refreshed via a Claims and Objections period and used for new General and Regional Elections. He said, “If a claims and objections exercise is to be used, then that will form the basis of a preliminary list.” Asked specifically if the last Valid List can be used to conduct a free and fair Elections, Lowenfield said, “That is correct.” • Further, when asked to comment on President Granger’s assertion that the voters’ list is bloated by about 200,000 names, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield said, “You are saying my List is bloated….bloat is not a word it would affix to it (the List).” The Chief Elections Officer also stated that Granger’s claims is based on speculation. Lowenfield said, “It’s speculative. I will want to do an exercise to determine that amount and that exercise can be done,” he said.
April - May, 2019: • GECOM continues to train staff and procure goods for a national House to House despite the matter being before the CCJ. 13th May, 2019: • GECOM’s in-house Legal Counsel advises against House to House registration. A legal opinion, prepared for the Commission a month before, said: “The use of the word ‘revise’ [in the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 15 of 2000] suggest that the process is not one where a ‘new’ List is generated, but one where the most recent list is updated or amended….I therefore advise that procedures be put in place to ensure the revision of the list, otherwise the Commission would be acting in defiance of the law and may prejudice a by-election that may become necessary.”
23rd May, 2019: • The National Assembly approves the Supplementary Financial Paper allocating an additional $3.4B (equivalent to US$16.5M) to GECOM’s 2019 appropriations of $5.3 B. 18th June, 2019: • (CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE - RULING) The CCJ rules on the consolidated cases related to the no-confidence motion: 1. The no-confidence motion was validly passed; Article 106 (7) was triggered when the no-confidence motion was validly passed. 2. The majority needed for the passage of the vote on the no-confidence motion was 33 votes of “all 65 elected Members of the National Assembly whether present and voting” and not 34, claimed by the Coalition Government. 3. The vote of former Parliamentarian, Charandass Persaud, was valid and Mr. Persaud was not “required to vote against the motion of no confidence along with other members of the APNU+AFC Coalition Government. 4. There was nothing to prevent the tabling of a no-confidence motion by any member of the National Assembly, including the Opposition Leader. 5. Despite the Speaker of the Assembly declaring that the motion had been validly passed, the Government neither resigned nor announced impending elections. • (CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE - RULING) The CCJ rules on the case related to the unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman. In their press release, the CCJ said: “The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today ruled that the process through which Reverend Justice (Retired) James Patterson was appointed Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by His Excellency,
12th July, 2019: • (CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE - ORDER) The Court makes the following declarations and orders in the consolidated no-confidence motion matter: a) The provisions of Article 106(6) and (7) of the Constitution apply to a No Confidence motion; b) Thirty-three votes constitute a majority of the 65 member National Assembly; c) Mr Charrandas Persaud was ineligible to be elected to the Assembly by virtue of his citizenship of Canada but his vote on the motion of no confidence was valid; d) Nothing in the anti-defection regime established at Article 156(3) of the Constitution rendered Mr Persaud incapable of casting his vote on that motion in the manner in which he did; e) The National Assembly properly passed a motion of no confidence in the Government on 21 December 2018; f) Upon the passage of this motion of no confidence in the Government, the clear provisions of Article 106 immediately became engaged. 16th July, 2019: • Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, through his attorney, Anil Nandlall, wrote to Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of GECOM, Keith Lowenfield, to “request that he immediately commence preparations for the holding of General and Regional Elections on a date no later than September 18, 2019.” 17th July, 2019: • Order 25 of 2019, issued by GECOM mandating that new national house-to-house registration commence on July 20, 2019 was made public. The Order is dated June 11, 2019. 18th July, 2019: • The People’s Progressive Party releases press statement that said: “Our Party has not received any official communication from GECOM. Our numerous calls to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield have gone unanswered. This activity is a clear violation of the orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), issued on July 12, 2019. We call on all Guyanese to protest the CEO‘s unlawful act.” • Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, makes clear that the house-to-house registration is being done illegally. 22nd July, 2019: • A court challenge has been mounted against the House-to-House Registration being carried out by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), by Attorney-at-Law, Christopher
26th July, 2019: • A meeting between Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, and President Granger saw a resolution on the issue of the appointment of a new Chairperson for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Justice Claudette Singh, SC, CCH, was selected as the new GECOM Chairperson. 26th July, 2019: The Caribbean Court of Justice Orders said: ► The Cabinet and President must resign; ► The David Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition will continue as a caretaker government; ► The APNU+AFC Coalition must restrain the exercise of its legal authority; and ► That three-month Election clock started on June 18, 2019. A letter from Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on July 20, 2019 to President Granger called for compliance in all these regards. Granger responded to say that these “requests” are being examined by Attorney General Basil Williams. August 5, 2019 • President David Granger responds to the Opposition Leader’s calls for compliance with the Constitution and the CCJ ruling by saying he will not “accede” to the calls. In a letter, Granger said, “It is my considered opinion that the Caribbean Court of Justice did not issue orders that I should dissolve the National Assembly, fix a date for General and Regional Elections and that I should resign from the Office of President.” Notably, the request was for the Cabinet to resign including the President (meaning that the entire Cabinet inclusive of its Chairman, the President must resign); for the President issue a Proclamation dissolving Parliament and fixing a date for elections in accordance with the CCJ Consequential Orders and Articles 106(6) & (7) of the Constitution. The CCJ ruled that Articles 106(6) & (7) were immediately triggered when the No-Confidence Motion was passed on 21st December, 2018 and must be obeyed.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Granger is not beyond reproach (Part 2) L
ast week, the Observer began addressing some key points – all that dispels the myth being perpetuated that somehow President David Granger is beyond reproach and that he is somehow immune from blame for the numerous failings of his government. In part one of this series we dispelled this myth by exposing his culpability for the alarming level of corruption in his government. This week we will show how he is responsible for the hardships being inflicted on the Guyanese population. CRIME Since assuming office over four years ago the crime situation in Guyana has risen to alarming levels. Hardly a day goes by where it is revealed that a family has been victims of some sort of banditry. Article 149 J of the Guyana Constitution states that: “Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to his wealth or wellbeing”. This Article suggests that all Guyanese are guaranteed safety in their homes, neighbourhoods, villages, Regions and the entire country. Under this government it would seem that this is no longer a guaranteed right. When this government entered into government, the President often boasted that he along with several of his cabinet members had extensive experience and expertise in the security sector. He promised to identify the root of crime and that measures would be implemented to address this. To assist in this endeavor, the British government presented to the president on
January 17, 2018 a report on the Security sector Reform Programme which was prepared by the British Security Sector Reform Advisor Lt. Col (ret’d) Russell Combe. At the time of receiving the report President Granger stated that the report represented an effort to make Guyana safe and secure. He also used the opportunity to criticize the previous PPP/C administration efforts to quell crime as “all bluff”. Since receiving the report the nation can clearly see who is bluffing. The President has behaved as if the report contains state secrets. He has not made the report public and has reneged on his promise to have the report tabled in parliament October 2018. The British High commission has even pointed out the slothfulness of the government in implementing the recommendations of the report. The president cannot escape blame for this. The crime situation has reached to alarming levels that the United States of America, State Department in 2018 in a release assesses Georgetown as being a Critical threat location for Crime. Should this assessment be done today one can expect that the entire country will be so assessed. Violent crimes have risen all across Guyana. Whilst previously, these crimes were confined to Georgetown, this no longer the case. Violent crimes are on the rise in Berbice, Essequibo Coast, Bartica and our interior location. Home invasions in Berbice are now a regular occurrence, as persons are terrorized in their homes. Our school children are harassed and attacked as
they make their way to and from school. Supermarkets have become favorite targets for criminals. Our elderly citizens who live alone are regular targets for bandits. It has become a common occurrence to have bodies with marks of violence being found in ditches, trenches, bushes and houses. President Granger and his government seem devoid of ideas on how to address this situation. Their response to the crime situation has been to deny and deflect. They first try to deny the extent to which violent crimes have taken over the country by using misleading statistics. They then try to somehow cast the blame for it on the previous administration. They then try to deflect from the current situation by referring to the bogus and debunked claim of 400 Afro-Guyanese killed during the PPP/C tenure in government. Fortunately people have seen through their attempts at deception and have placed the blame for this situation where it lies, at the feet of the President. Whilst violent crimes continue to spiral out of control, and has reached critical levels, one must not forget the increasing rise of white collar crimes being committed by members of this Granger led government. In Part one of this series we presented numerous examples of corruption emanating from this administration. This has become a government of scandals. The incompetence of this President has left us all exposed to crime from every angle. We still wait to see examples of their expertise in crime fighting.
HEALTH Our Heath Sector is in a deplorable state. All across the country our citizens have been lamenting about the lack of proper care at the Public Health Facilities. The situation has gotten to such a state that it is as if one is playing Russian roulette with your life when you visit on of these facilities for treatment. The incidences of equipment malfunctioning or not working at these facilities are a common occurrence. Shortage of staff to man the facilities is also a regular occurrence. Shortage of drugs to administer to patients is becoming the norm. Basic drugs, such as pain killers are now a scarce commodity, and persons have had to resort to acquiring these from private pharmacies. Vaccinations for children are also in short supply. Failure to have our children immunized can lead to an epidemic. We have had the occurrence of the Health Ministry renting a building to store drugs that was plainly not adequate to do that. The issue of sole-sourcing is also synonymous with the Ministry, which smacks of corruption. It is obvious to all that our Health sector is in crisis. This is clear to most al Guyanese, with the exception of our President, it would seem. We have not heard from him with regards to any of the issues highlighted above. It is either he is oblivious of what is happening or he just does not care. Whichever of the two it is, this is cause for concern as one would expect a President to treat this
particular sector with great importance. It is becoming more and more obvious that we have a President who is incapable of handling his role effectively. COST OF LIVING Since taking the reins of government just over four years ago the government has literally run our economy into the ground. Our reserves are depleted, foreign currency is in short supply, our national debt has reached unprecedented levels and all our productive sectors are in decline. All this has resulted in our cost of living rising to alarming levels. Instead of implementing strategies to correct this, President Granger and his government continue to do things that exacerbate this further. Immediately after assuming office the government introduced and increased taxes that placed immense burden on the population. Even though they reduced VAT from 16% to 14% they immediately took away that benefit by placing VAT on items that were previously zero-rated. The net effect of that placed us in a far worse position than we were. The President who likes to give the impression as if he is a caring person, must have been aware of the effect of taking away the subsidy enjoyed by the elderly on their utility bills would have on them. This has placed great burden on this demographic, who were already disappointed with the measly increase on their pension. Once again the net effect of the withdrawal of the subsidy with the pension
increase placed our elderly citizen in a worse position. The President has clearly demonstrated here that he does not care for our older folks. Our elderly alone was not immune from our unsympathetic president. He also approved the cessation of the uniform voucher programme. This removal has placed great hardships on our citizens, especially single parents. This Voucher Programme greatly assisted parents of school children, especially those with more than one child in school at the same time. President Granger displayed a callousness to these parents that is unforgiveable. No proper reason was given for stopping this programme. It would seem that the only reason this was stopped, was because it was a PPP/C initiative. This President has placed our country in a state where the struggle to eke out a daily living is real. We have to go about our day in constant fear of being the victims of some form of banditry or the other. We are in a struggle to make a decent living, whilst being cognizant that we cannot afford to get ill, and if god forbid we do we cannot be guaranteed proper care at our Health Facilities. Guyanese long for a return to the days where our lives were not solely consumed with survival. President Granger has demonstrated that he cannot effectively handle the administration of our country. He cannot blame others for our situation, all the blame lays at his feet. He is ultimately responsible for the affairs of the country and he is failing his responsibilities.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Taxi driver found PRegion 9 rancher killed dead at Mocha
olice are investigating the murder of Owayne Lynch, age 34, a taxi driver of 3521 Stevedore Housing Scheme, Georgetown which occurred about 21:45 hours on Tuesday (August 6, 2019),on Cemetery Road, Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara by person/persons unknown. Enquiries disclosed
that the victim was plying his trade with motor car, registration number PRR 3313 ,a black Toyota IST from Swift Cab at Lot 6 Dennis Street ,Turkeyen, Sophia. At about 20:31 hours, the dispatcher of the Taxi Service dispatched the victim to Sophia to pick up a client destined to
Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara. However, about 21:45 hours, the victim was seen lying motionless on Cemetery Road Mocha Arcadia in a pool of blood with multiple wounds about his body. An ice pick was found at the scene. Investigations are ongoing.
olice are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 32-yearold rancher of Karaudanawa Village, South Rupununi, who was killed by a bow and arrow. Pius Ernest was reportedly killed by a 50-year-old farmer at around 22:00 hours on Monday (August 5, 2019).
According to the Guyana Police Force, investigation so far revealed that the suspect saw his spouse in the company of Ernest (deceased) at a location in the village and he armed himself with a bow and arrow and fatally shot the man in the upper part of his body. Investigations are ongoing.
Man chopped in home invasion A handyman was chopped at least 12 times during a home invasion on Sunday (August 4, 2019) morning at his Angoy’s Avenue, Berbice home. The injured man has been identified as 30-year-old Rene Anthony Juman of Lot 162 Angoy’s Avenue New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). He was left nursing a fractured skull after he was chopped to his head and a broken shoulder. Four of his front teeth were also
knocked out by the bandits. Reports are that at approximately 01:45hours, two men entered the house through a door that was left open. The men entered the premises by scaling a side fence; then they walked up the stairway and climbed onto the verandah’s roof to make their way into the verandah. Juman was awakened by the men who immediately started to assault him with a crow bar. Investigations are ongoing.
Another Chinese restaurant Police Officer busted trying to robbed plant drugs at Superbet outlet T wo armed men carried out a brazen robbery on a Chinese restaurant at Kwakwani, Upper Berbice, in the wee hours of July 30, 2019, carting off with close to $700,000 in cash. Based on information gathered, the incident occurred at about midnight after the owner of the restaurant, 47-year-old Huang Yahgng, ventured to the customers’ washroom
located in a section of his restaurant. The suspects, who were armed with cutlasses, reportedly sneaked behind the restaurant counter and allegedly removed $700,000 from a drawer before making good their escape. The police were summoned to the scene and went in pursuit of the bandits but they escaped. The
police had recovered a cutlass and a part of black Levi slippers at the scene. The police have since confirmed that one of the bandits was identified as a 17-year-old Kwakwani resident. He was later arrested at a popular drinking spot in the area but none of the stolen money was found in his possession. Investigations are ongoing.
Guyanese urged to use social media platform to make anonymous submissions about corruption
ith the four-year mark of the APNU+AFC Coalition Government being in office having passed and with more and more Guyanese forwarding information about increasing levels of corruption in office, a platform has been created to allow for easier communication of such information. Opposition Leader, Bharat Jagdeo, has urged Guyanese to make use of the social media platforms and participate in the effort to continue to expose the misdeeds of the APNU+AFC Coalition. He assured that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) will continue its investigations in the push for greater accountability and transparency. Guyanese can make submissions of information anonymously via Facebook on ‘Corruption Watch 592’ and via WhatsApp on telephone number (592)-653-6637.
Berbice policeman remains under investigation after he was accused of stowing ganja on the premises of a Superbet shop located in Reliance Village, East Canje Berbice, in an extortion bid on July 27, 2019. The rank was been transferred to the Tactical Services Unit (TSU). He was also placed under close arrest. Reports are that the con-
stable attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Department, Reliance Police Station, was reportedly caught on CCTV placing the illegal item suspected to be cannabis during a search on the premises conducted by him and another rank. He then allegedly pretended to find the item and accused the owners of being in possession of it. He then
urged the owners to either pay him and have the matter disappear, or be arrested for possession of narcotics. The owners of the Superbet shop, an overseas-based couple, then contacted a senior police officer and filed a complaint which led to an investigation. The Police Force has since said that an investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Guyanese interested in volunteering asked to contact Party
he People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) is now available on WhatsApp number 592-611-PPPC (7772) and it encouraging Guyanese, who are interested in political activism and volunteering, to contact the Party. WhatsApp allows persons to message from Guyana other countries at no cost. Operators are manning the line on a 24-hour basis and interested Guyanese are asked to communicate this to the Party.
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
Positions from Freedom House this week (A look at the latest statements made by the People’s Progressive Party)
‘Massive people smuggling ring’…
Felix complicit by his refusal to investigate the matter
he appalling statements made by two senior APNU+AFC Coalition government officials –relative to the daily disclosures about thousands of foreign nationals entering Guyana, with no record of them leaving – must be openly condemned. Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, has been quoted as saying that he believes that the Haitians are using Guyana as a stepping-stone to other countries, including Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana. It is alarming that this is the position of a Minister who should be concerned with the correlated issues of national security and human trafficking. Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, has been reported as saying: “If I (foreigner) am prepared to cut grass for $1,000, but the
native (Guyanese) wants to cut grass for $1,500, who are you going to employ? Most obviously, the $1,000…I would go for the $1,000.” That this is the position of Guyana’s Finance Minister – effectively supporting the displacement of Guyanese from the job market, at a time when Guyana has recorded 30,000 jobs lost in the last four years – is unacceptable. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) believes that there is a massive people smuggling racket and inaction cannot be the order of the day. This is an issue that was raised a year ago and the APNU+AFC Coalition has refused to address it. The alarming statistics on the number of Cubans, as well as Haitians who cannot be accounted for, since entering Guyana, caused the Parliamentary Committee
on Foreign Affairs, in 2018, to summon Minister Felix and then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, on June 13, 2018 to answer pointed questions with regards to possible human trafficking. The Parliamentary Committee examined statistics provided by Minister Felix himself for the period 2015 to April 30, 2018. The immigration figures showed that a total of 93,374 Cubans arrived in Guyana, but only 76,663 were recorded to have left. This meant that 16,711 Cubans were unaccounted for and probably still in Guyana. With regards to the Haitians, for the same period, a total of 6,245 arrived in Guyana, but only 963 were recorded to have left. Again like the Cubans, a large number of 5,282 Haitians were also unaccounted for and probably in Guyana. The more recent exposés in the Kaieteur News– detailing the arrival of over 8,600
Haitians in the last seven months – have focused on one group of foreign nationals, the issue at hand involves other nationals, including Cubans. This may just be the tip of the iceberg. In 2018, Minister Felix denied, before the Parliamentary Committee and media, that there was any truth to the information publicly stated by the Opposition Leader that Haitians were being given preferential treatment airside on arrival with special facilitators. He refused to check the CCTV cameras at the airport and told the Opposition Parliamentarians to bring the evidence. Needless to say, the recent media reports have exposed the untruth in Minister Felix’s comments. Further, the Party is primarily worried that these foreign nationals are being issued with Guyanese documents, which would allow them to be registered as el-
igible Guyanese voters in the ongoing house-to-house registration being done by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The plan afoot seems to be one that envisages the padding of the Voters’ List with fictitious persons – an old rigging tactic reminiscent of the People’s National Congress’ (PNC) time in office from the 1960’s. The Party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, has repeatedly raised this issue of people smuggling over the past year, while the local media corps has advanced its investigative reporting on the issue this week. Curiously, APNU+AFC Coalition officials have remained silent on the primary issues of concern. The magnitude of this operation has to involve the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Immigration Department, the Guyana Registrar’s Office and the Airline; these
must come clean on the worrying state of affairs. The People’s Progressive Party firmly believes that Minister Felix is neck-deep in this matter and is complicit by his refusal to investigate this matter. One may wonder why this Minister is so vociferous in denying this racket, which is so patently obvious. The PPP is not convinced that the Minister is so obtuse. We believe that he knows who the facilitators are, including those in his Department of Citizenship. Minister Felix must be held accountable for what is happening. The Party reiterates the call of our General Secretary for a full-fledged investigation into this matter and calls on President David Granger to abandon his usual posture of silence in the face of the scandals embroiling his Administration and address this matter with urgency. (August 2, 2019)
Basil Williams’ threats condemned, GECOM must go to Claims and Objections T
he People’s Progressive Party (PPP) condemns the threats of violence made by Attorney General Basil Williams, during a panel discussion organised by the American Chambers (AmCham) on Monday (August 5, 2019). Williams threatened “dire consequences” if house-to-house registration is not allowed to proceed – fallaciously insisting that house-to-house registration is the only means of obtaining a credible Voters’ List and disingenuously ignoring the constitutional three-month deadline for Elections to be held in Guyana. Williams said, “They are willing to go to the Election with an anyhow list. They are ready for their properties, and all these things, to be subjected to those same post-election
type of violence that we had in the past. I don’t want to say well y’all go, go to the Election, because the consequences would be dire.” This is not the first time that the Attorney General has descended to such talk. In May 2019, Williams warned about “unrest” that might follow in Guyana if the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules against the Government in the three consolidated cases, related to the challenge to the validity of the no-confidence motion passed on December 21, 2018. The Party firmly believes that President David Granger is ultimately responsible for such reckless comments. It is clear that he opts to present a disposition that is above reproach while he dispatches his minions to engage in a
campaign that does nothing, but harm to our nation. As currently being done, house-to-house registration will de-register countless Guyanese, imposing demands on eligible Guyanese that are unconstitutional. If this unsupervised, unconstitutional and illegal process, currently the subject of a court challenge, is allowed to continue – producing what will undoubtedly be a flawed List of Voters – there will be no need for the organised violence that is typical of the People’s National Congress Reform’s leadership, which could be the only thing that Williams was referring to. There is already anger among Guyanese about the unconstitutional nature of the ongoing house-to-house registration and the refusal of the AP-
NU+AFC Coalition to comply with the Constitution and the orders of the Caribbean Court of Justice. This anger could spill over into spontaneous and regrettable violence, if there is mass de-registration, as the current direction of the house-to-house registration indicates. This is an outcome that must be avoided by ensuring that there is constitutional compliance. None other than the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, has admitted on two occasions that a Claims and Objections period will ensure a credible list to facilitate the holding of constitutionally mandated Elections. He also admitted that President Granger’s claim about the List of Voters being bloated by 200,000 is spurious. Many have been misled into believing that the houseto-house registration, to produce a new National Register
of Registrants, will be completed on October 20, 2019. ONLY the field exercise of this process will be completed by that date. According to GECOM’s own work plan, the entire exercise to produce a new National Register of Registrants was programmed to end on December 18, 2019, but its start was delayed by 48 days – meaning that the new end date will take Guyana to February 2020, just to get a new National Register of Registrants. Once this is done, it will take an additional several months to arrive at an Official List of Electors. The caretaker Coalition Government cannot continue to ignore the consequence of the successfully and validly passed no-confidence motion – that is Elections by September 18, 2019. Additionally, the ongoing legal challenge to house-tohouse registration – one that
challenges the constitutionality of the process – is likely to end up before the Caribbean Court of Justice. If house-tohouse registration is pursued and results in a flawed List of Voters, which it will, there can be an impact on any Election that is held. If an Election is held with a flawed List and the CCJ rules that house-to-house registration is unconstitutional, the Election could be invalidated. Guyana can ill-afford continued political upheavals. That said, it is for GECOM to urgently pursue Claims and Objections as a tested method for updating the existing List of Voters – a method used for the 2018 and 2016 Local Government Elections, as well as the 2015 and 2011 General and Regional Elections – to allow for Elections to be held within the constitutionally mandated three-month timeframe. (August 6, 2019)
WEEKEND MIRROR 10-11 AUGUST, 2019
PPP’s Chief Scrutineer concerned about foreign nationals being registered T
he influx of foreign nationals entering Guyana and the lack of information as to whether they leave is a cause for worry, especially as House-to-House Registration is ongoing and fake documents have previously surfaced in an election season. According to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Chief Elections Scrutineer Zulfikar Mustapha, this is a problem considering the fact that thousands of immigrants cannot be accounted for after arriving in Guyana. “These people are getting special treatment at the airport, coming into the country. There are reports that they are getting special treatment and
are being whisked away and are being housed at different places. So we are very concerned,” Mustapha told this publication on Saturday. He added that there is a lack of accountability with respect to where those immigrants are staying and their purpose in Guyana. “According to the statistics, 8600 came in for the year and only 13 left. So where are they going? I am concerned that they are being registered illegally, to be placed on the voters’ list. All those questions we have to ask”. He pointed to the case of the man who was found with a fake Guyana Identification (ID) Card in Region Six (East
Berbice-Corentyne) last year. “That was a very serious thing when they found the man with the fake ID. So that is a cause for serious concern. Those things can happen. And right now, they are in the process of going house to house and registering people. It seems to have a sinister motive,” Mustapha pointed out. It was only recently that the media highlighted the fact that for the past seven months, 8600 Haitian immigrants entered the country and only 13 left. According to immigration numbers, thousands of Haitians are being ‘brought’ to Guyana. From January to July, it was,
952, 673, 345, 1321, 2010, 1749 and 1552 respectively – a total of over 8,600 Haitians who arrived in the last seven months. They all arrived on flights of the Panamanian-owned Copa Airlines. There has also been a large influx of Cubans. Sections of the media followed some Haitians who were chaperoned by the busload in a clandestine but organised manner. Last year, the Citizenship Ministry had revealed to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament that over 22,000 persons entered Guyana from January to April. The Ministry had revealed that of this number, only 6, 170 had
departed. In addition, it was shown that there are no records of 17,615 immigrants departing from 2013 to 2018. PEOPLE SMUGGLING The issue involving foreign nationals, in addition to the fact that they may be used to pad the voters’ list in the ongoing house-to-house registration, introduces the worry about “people smuggling” according to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. He proffered the view that this “people smuggling” racket is essentially a “corrupt practice” involving the Coalition Government. Last week, he had said, “We believe that a lot of this is
people smuggling. It is a lucrative, very, very, lucrative criminal enterprise…the latest numbers show that 8,700 have come into the country in the last seven months alone and we gather that less than 25 have left….it is unbelievable that these numbers have come in and the government is not involved….this is not normal.” Last year, when this issue came up, Jagdeo stated that the matter will be brought to the attention to the international community, including agencies like the UNDP. “We will bring it to their attention because we believe that this is people smuggling,” he had said.
Patterson touting new bridge at a time when Coalition is in caretaker capacity T
he Governments of Guyana and Suriname are currently in talks for the establishment of a crossing, to bridge the two countries, according to embattled Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson. This week he was quoted in the media as saying that the countries have already signed a memorandum of understanding. He said, “It’s at that stage whereby we’re trying to decide where to do the detailed
[feasibility] studies.” Patterson disclosed that a deal should be struck by the end of 2019. Currently, there are two likely locations, Moleson Creek and Orealla. Notably, this move comes at a time when the APNU+AFC Coalition Government is in a caretaker capacity. His comments also contradict President David Granger’s acceptance of what a caretaker govern-
ment is allowed to do and not do. A broadcast of ‘Public Interest’ on July 19, 2019, saw President David Granger admitting that the powers of the Coalition are restricted. He said, “There is nothing in the Constitution that defines interim status. But in the jurisdictions that adhere to the Westminster system, if you want to call it that, Canada, Australia and other countries – we
PPP/C MPs will not return to National Assembly to extend caretaker gov’t time in office
n the wake of the No-Confidence Motion passed against it and the recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling validating that motion, the Government will receive no lifeline to legally extend its time in office from the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). The Party made this pellucid in a statement on Saturday (August 3, 2019), coming on the heels of suggestions from some and hope being expressed by Government Ministers that an arrangement could be reached between the Opposition and Government. “For the avoidance of doubt, the People’s Progressive Party wishes to reiterate its position that its Members
of Parliament will not return to the National Assembly, pursuant to Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, to support any extension of time for the holding of General and Regional Elections,” the Party said in its statement. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.” Meanwhile, Article 106 (7) states: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National
Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.” A No-Confidence Motion was passed against the Government on December 21, 2018. However, elections were not held by March 21, 2019 and there was no resignation. Instead, Government went to court, unsuccessfully arguing that the No-Confidence Motion was not validly passed. The case reached the CCJ – Guyana’s final Court – which ruled that the no-confidence motion was valid.
have consulted with the laws – and interim status means: we do not pass a budget; we have to keep government running, the routine functions; I cannot undertake State visits and sign agreements with foreign countries; we have to limit our expenditure; and we have to ensure that we do not embark on any controversial project. “There are half a dozen or more conventions with which we have to comply to ensure that the government restrains expenditure, restrains its actions. “…we are aware of the international conventions and both the Chancellor of
Judiciary of Guyana and the CCJ, the President of the CCJ, cited a Canadian expert and we are abiding by those six principles. We accept the status of interim government and we are not going to breach the convention.” The Coalition Government continues to act in clear defiance of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling and orders – relative to the no-confidence motion being validly passed. The CCJ on June 18, 2019 ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly passed. On July 12, 2019, the Court issued its orders in the case.
Among other things, the orders said: • The Cabinet and President must resign; • The David Granger-led APNU+AFC Coalition will continue as a caretaker government; • The APNU+AFC Coalition must restrain the exercise of its legal authority; and • That three-month Election clock started on June 18, 2019 – meaning Elections have to be held by September 18, 2019. None of these have been done – representing open defiance of the Caribbean Court of Justice – Guyana’s final Court.
Basil Williams misleads High Court I
n arguing for the continuation of the house-to-house registration, following the challenge filed by Christopher Ram, Attorney General, Basil Williams, engaged in a blatant move to mislead the High Court. He declared to the Court that the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the no-confidence motion that was passed against government does not require Cabinet, including the president, to resign as is stated in the Constitution. In an affidavit filed on his behalf, Williams argued that
“the Court has never expressly or by implication ordered the Cabinet or the President to resign.” “The clear pronouncement of the Court is that the Government inclusive of the President and the Cabinet remains in office but on a different footing until fresh elections are held,” the affidavit said. Notably, the judgment of the CCJ and its consequential orders were clear. On July 12, 2019, in its consequential orders, the CCJ said, “In all the circumstances, the Court makes the
following declarations and orders: The provisions of Article 106(6) and (7) of the Constitution apply to a No Confidence motion…upon the passage of this motion of no confidence in the Government, the clear provisions of Article 106 immediately became engaged.” In its June 18, 2019 ruling, at paragraph 56, Justice Adrian Saunders, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, said, “The provisions of Article 106 (6) and (7) are clear on their face.” Justice Saunders’ ruling, at paragraph three, adds that: “Arti-
cle 106(6) of the Constitution states that the cabinet, including the president, shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly ‘on a vote of confidence’. Article 106(7) goes on to state that notwithstanding its defeat, the government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months.” Notably, even as Williams’ advanced his fallacious arguments, the APNU+AFC Coalition Government is still to act in response to a letter from Opposition
Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, relative to compliance with the CCJ ruling and orders. In a letter written and signed by caretaker President Granger dated July 26, he acknowledged the Opposition Leader’s letter from July 20, in which he demanded the resignation of the President and Cabinet, the dissolution of Parliament, and the naming of an election date. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution stated that: “Cabinet, including the President, shall resign if the government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the
elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.” Meanwhile, Article 106 (7) adds that: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the elections.”
Cabinet continues to meet despite CCJ’s ruling on no-confidence motion
eetings of the APNU+AFC Coalition caretaker Cabinet are continuing, despite the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the provisions of the Constitution that demand the resignation of Cabinet once a no-confidence motion is validly passed. According to Vice-Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Dr George Norton,
Cabinet is meeting based on guidance from its “legal expert” and it will continue to do so. He said, “Cabinet has been meeting….I just want to repeat, we are meeting based the guidance of our legal expert. The Coalition government has no interest – they have never done so before, and will never want to go against the rule of law.” The CCJ on June 18, 2019 declared that the
no-confidence motion was validly passed and that Article 106 of the Constitution became immediately engaged as of that date. Article 106(6) and (7) of the Constitution states that: “(6) The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence. “(7) Notwithstanding its
defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.” On February 15, 2019, Director General of the
Ministry of the Presidency (former Minister of State), Joseph Harmon told the Guyanese people that Cabinet has not been meeting since the January 31, 2019 decision of the High Court to declare that the passage no-confidence motion is valid. “There is a judgement of the Court that was made with respect to the Cabinet and that judgement is appealed but we have not obtained a stay of the judgement as yet
Why the... ExxonMobil increases Guyana’s oil resource estimate to 6 billion barrels
ess Corporation, a partner with ExxonMobil in Guyana, upped the amount of hydrocarbon discovered offshore this northeastern South American country to six billion barrels of oil equivalent. “In Guyana, we have just increased the estimate of gross discovered recoverable resources for the Stabroek Block to more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent and continue to see multi-billion barrels of additional exploration potential,” Chief Executive Officer John Hess said on July 31, 2019. The previously announced estimated recoverable resource was approximately 5.5 billion oil-equivalent barrels on the Stabroek Block. ExxonMobil has made 13 discoveries to date: 1. Liza
2. Liza deep 3. Payara 4. Snoek 5. Turbot 6. Ranger 7. Pacora 8. Longtail – 1 9. Hammerhead 10. Pluma-1 11. Tilapia-1 12. Haimara-1 13. Yellowtail-1 ExxonMobil has deployed four drill-ships for exploration purposes, where the 13 massive discoveries were made. The fleet comprises of the Stena Carron, the Noble Bob Douglas, the Noble Tom Madden and Noble Don Taylor. Start-up of the Liza Phase 1 development is on track to begin by the first quarter of 2020 and will produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day, utilising the Floating Production, Storage And Offloading
(FPSO) vessel, Lisa Destiny. Liza Phase 2 is expected to start up by mid-2022. A final investment decision is expected soon, subject to Government and regulatory approvals. Upon approval, the project plans to use the Liza Unity FPSO to produce up to 220,000 barrels per day. Sanctioning of a third development, Payara, is also expected in 2019, with start-up projected for 2023. The Stabroek Block is 6.6 million acres (26,800 square kilometres). ExxonMobil affiliate, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, is operator and holds 45 per cent interest in the Stabroek Block. Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd holds 30 per cent interest and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Limited, holds 25 per cent interest.
overtaken by the consequential orders rendered on the 12th July 2019, by the CCJ. I cannot imagine that the learned Chief Justice will make a decision that will detract from, defy, frustrate or undermine the clear prescriptions of the CCJ. GECOM can, lawfully, do no different, either. So, why the procrastination? Of course, the decision of the Chief Justice scheduled to be delivered on the 14th August 2019, ought to add further guidance on the matter. However, awaiting the same cannot be the basis of non-action. The fundamental truth is that the consequential orders of the CCJ will not change, nor lose their efficacy; neither will the clear language of Article 106 (6) and (7). They aggregate in mandating elections to be held by the 18th September 2019. GECOM has one of two clear courses of action open to it. Firstly, to proceed with the current house-tohouse exercise, or secondly, to refresh the last valid Official List of Electors with a claims and objections exercise and use same for the purpose of holding an elections. As regards the former,
and, therefore, we have not held Cabinet meetings as such,” Harmon said, according to a Demerara Waves report on the said date. While the APNU+AFC Coalition Government accepted the High Court’s declaration of the no-confidence motion as valid, there has not been a similar acceptance of the ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice, which is Guyana’s final Court.
(From page 17)
following GECOM’s own ‘Work Plan’, it will result in elections being held sometime in June 2020, earliest. This will not only render the No-Confidence Motion passed nugatory, but will violently collide with the consequential orders of the CCJ and the clear language of Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution, rendering the process unconstitutional. Additionally, the legality of the process itself and the contention that it will result in the deprivation of tens of thousands of qualified Guyanese of their right to vote, are all live issues to be determined by the CJ. The matter is further compounded by the main political party’s supporters boycotting the process, which will result in half of the electorate being excluded from any list that the exercise may eventually generate. The above mentioned factors will clearly provide formidable basis to challenge the legal validity of any elections held in those circumstances, not to mention the social disorder that such an election may excite. In relation to the latter, the list to be used is a list under
which the current Government won a majority in the 10th Parliament at the 2011 elections, then won the Government at the 2015 elections and the same list was used, successfully, for two Local Government Elections, held under its tenure, without a single serious allegation ever being made against its integrity, until after the No-Confidence Motion was passed. Concomitantly, the legal advisor of GECOM advised that the list can be used, once it is refreshed with a claims and objections exercise and she further advised that to proceed with house-to-house registration, will run afoul of the CCJ ruling and the Constitution. Lastly, the Chief Elections Officer, himself, disclosed to the press, a week ago, that the list is not “bloated” and can be used for the next elections, after a claims and objections exercise, which will allow for all those who are not on the list, to get their names thereon. I cannot conceive of any difficulty in GECOM determining, to which option it must resort, in the circumstances.
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