GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 11, CMC – The Guyana government Monday described as “irresponsible” a statement made by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo that supporters of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) should chase President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo out of Berbice if elections are not called by March 21.
In a statement, the government said that the call by Jagdeo for citizens to chase Granger, Nagamootoo or “any other government official…can result in a breach of the law and must be condemned as unacceptable, malicious and mischievous”.
“Mr. Jagdeo has a history of wanton utterances and his most recent at Babu Jaan has serious implications on peace, race relations and national security, particularly in an Election Year. The Government notes that any call to violence or a breach of public order must be deplored,” the statement said.
Addressing a ceremony commemorating the birth of the PPP’s co-founder and former president, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, on Sunday, Jagdeo told supporters government members could be chased out of office after March 21.
“We are going here in Berbice and right across Guyana, when the ministers or Granger or Nagamootoo come here after the 21st of March to say to them, walk behind them, chase them out! They’re gonna be illegal. Say to them ‘they’re illegal’.
“We are not going to accept any delay in the elections,” Jagdeo said, predicting a “massive defeat” for the government in the elections.
He told supporters that a new PPP administration would also move to arrest and jail ministers on corruption charges.
“Many of them will be in jail because of actual corruption, not rumours of corruption,” he said.
The PPP has called on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to ensure that the elections are held no later than April 21, even though it had previously called for the elections to be held by March 19. GECOM has said it cannot hold credible elections during that time-frame and is proposing a date in July.
Under the Guyana constitution, on the successfully passage of a motion of no confidence fresh elections must be held no later than 90 days unless the National Assembly, by a special majority, approves an extension.
On December 21 last year, Jagdeo successfully moved a motion of no confidence in the three-and-a-half-year-old government after he received the support of a Charrandas Persaud, a government backbencher, in the 65-member National Assembly.
The government had previously enjoyed a one-seat majority, and has since appealed the ruling of a High Court that the motion was valid and its refusal to issue a conservatory order halting the 90-day countdown to the polls.