GUYANA-Opposition Leader warns of unrest if 2020 elections are rigged

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has warned of “consequences” that could seriously “disrupt the kind of peace that we have now” if the 2020 general and regional elections are rigged resulting in the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) administration of President David Granger being re-elected to office.

“There will be consequences if they think that they can rig the elections and have the kind of peace that we have now, they’re wrong; very, very wrong. I hope they are not thinking that in their calculation,” Jagdeo told a news conference.

Bharrat Jagdeo (File Photo)

“I am making it clear about that and it is not coded language,” said Jagdeo, a former head of state, adding
“the nature of the struggle changes”.

He told reporters “when you have a legitimate government, a government you accepted as legal there are acceptable forms of struggle. You know you can protest peacefully, you can go to the parliament, you use the rules.

“But if they don’t live by the rules, they come to power without observing the rules then the other side should not be bound by any rules because it is a freedom struggle. It changes from struggle within a democracy, an established democracy to one of fighting for freedom…”
the statement by Jagdeo comes as the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) gears up to challenge the ruling of Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire, who earlier this month dismissed an application that had called on the High Court to declare that the appointment of retired Justice James Patterson to chair the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) violated the constitution and is “accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect”.

The PPP is claiming that the Judge was “wrong, misconceived and erroneous in law” when she dismissed an application by a senior party official challenging President Granger’s decision to appoint a GECOM Chairman.

The PPP, through its executive secretary, Zulficar Mustapha, has filed an appeal regarding last Friday’s dismissal of the original application.

The opposition party had also claimed that Justice Patterson was not constitutionally qualified to be appointed GECOM chairman and wanted the High Court to grant an order “rescinding, revoking, cancelling and setting aside the appointment”.

Former GECOM chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally had resigned in November 2016 and stepped down from office at the end of February 2017.

The party has also taken objection to Patterson used his casting vote to appoint Roxanne Myers as Deputy Chief Elections Officer over Vishnu Persaud who had held that office for three years until his contract expired in August 2017.

The PPP said it plans to file a complaint of racial discrimination against Persaud, an East Indo-Guyanese, to the Ethnic Relations Commission.

Jagdeo told reporters that the appointments being made “will not going to break our spirits”.

Jagdeo dismissed Minister of State, Joseph Harmon’s forecast that the PPP would be beaten badly at the next general elections.

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