…Foreign Affairs minister says statements by diplomatic community unnecessary
…says Guyana does not interfere in the political affairs of other countries
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings, said the recent pronouncements by the diplomatic community were unnecessary as she addressed the current political situation in the country.
The United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom High Commission, the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Organisation of American States (OAS), in light of the December 21 no-confidence motion, have all called for a restoration of the constitutional rule in Guyana, through the conduct of General and Regional Elections.
But the US, UK and EU, in their joint statement, went one step further, and accused the David Granger Administration of breaching the constitution – a statement that was highly condemned by sections of society. “We deeply regret that, by surpassing September 18, the government is currently in breach of the Constitution following its failure to adhere to the decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 18 June and its subsequent orders.
This situation comes at great cost to the people of Guyana. The prevailing political uncertainty undermines Guyanese institutions, compromises economic opportunities and delays development across all areas including infrastructure, education, health, and social services. It also hinders our ability to support Guyana’s development needs,” US Ambassador, Sarah-Ann Lynch; UK High Commissioner, Greg Quinn; and the EU Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó had said in the joint statement. That statement was issued hours after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had advised President David Granger that it would be in a position to facilitate free, fair and credible elections by the end of February, 2020, and days before the President had proclaimed March 2, 2020 for the conduction of General and Regional Elections.
But Minister Cummings, on Tuesday, in rejecting the statements made by the Diplomatic Community, said the pronouncements were uncalled for. “So all this agitation, I think it is uncalled for,” Minister Cummings told reporters during a press conference at her ministry.
The foreign affairs minister noted that since the no-confidence motion was passed on December 21, 2018, the government has been abiding by the Constitution of Guyana and the decisions of the court as she rejected claims of a breach.
“I don’t think that we need sanctions at this point in time because you know we are very peaceful citizens,” she posited, while adding that Guyana does not interfere in the political affairs of other countries.
“We strive to ensure that we don’t interfere with other person’s territory…and even CARICOM’s position is non-interference, non-intervention,” she said.
Minister Cummings, who just days ago returned from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, said she offered clarification on Guyana’s current political situation during meetings with the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres; and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The RT Hon Patricia Scotland, QC.
According to her, the UN Secretary-General said though Guyana has had some “hiccups” in recent times, he was “happy” that the country is not affected by wars and violent mass protests.
Alluding to her meeting with Baroness Scotland, the foreign affairs minister said statements emanating from the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo’s Office, may have resulted in a misunderstanding of the situation. “As you know, people like to take first just, and our opposition leader has been sending out signals…what you’ve heard first, that is what you may want to react to but when they would have looked and see Guyana, we are going ahead with our development agenda, and it is business as usual,” Minister Cummings explained.
Now that a date has been set, she said Guyana is preparing for elections, but until those elections are held, President Granger and his government remain intact in accordance with Article 106 (7) of the Constitution.
“We are a government, we remain in power until another President is sworn in – when the time comes – March 2 – wherever the chips fall that it is, and we will respect the rule of Law. But until such time, we will continue with our…developments in the country,” Minister Cummings stated.
In July, President Granger had met with members of the Diplomatic Corps; executives of the private sector and civil society and leaders within the religious community to personally explain Guyana’s current political situation.
At that time, he had committed to upholding the Constitution; respecting the National Assembly and the courts; ensuring the rule of law; safeguarding human and civil rights and preserving democracy.
He gave a detailed review of the legal processes which began with the challenging of the passage of the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018 and ended with the ruling of Guyana’s highest appellate court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
To date, the President has maintained that commitment and has since announced that elections will be held on Monday, March 2, 2019.
Sourced from Guyana Chronicle (3-10-2019)
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