Strengthening Guyana’s democracy a priority, says vice president Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

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Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, Vice President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The strengthening of Guyana’s democracy was a front-burner issue that vice president, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo discussed with United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara Feinstein.

Dr Jagdeo represented the government at the meeting with the US government official. He made it clear that the administration is committed to working with all of Guyana and the international community in strengthening the country’s democracy.

Vice president Jagdeo disclosed during a press conference on Friday, that:

“This is not an alien value to the PPP. We have, consistently from the beginning of the party, fought for and defended democracy. I pointed out the track record of the PNC on this matter. I pointed out that from the period in 1964 to 1992 they stayed in office through rigged elections and that the United States did not have to take my word for it, they can find evidence of this in many reports issued by US successive governments.” 

The comments by vice president Jagdeo comes on the heels of the opposition leader releasing speaking notes to the media following his meeting with the US deputy assistant secretary. However, the vice president said the position released by the opposition should not be taken as gospel.

The vice president noted that during his meeting with the deputy assistant secretary, he pointed out that the ways of the PNC have not changed, alluding to their recent attempt to rig the 2020 elections.

Further, the claims by the opposition that the voters list on which the PPP won the 2020 elections was bloated was dismissed by the vice president. He said the same notion was not being peddled by the opposition when they won by a slight margin in the 2015 election, pointing out that their notion is blatantly false.

Dr Jagdeo also highlighted the hypocrisy of the PNC and their concerns about the residency requirement to vote in Guyana. He said in the early 2000s, the PNC sat with the PPP and agreed to remove the residency requirement from registration and voting. He explained that prior to that, for an individual to vote, they had to be Guyanese and be resident in Guyana.

“So, this whole issue about a bloated voters list is a smokescreen for their attempt to rig the elections. I pointed out that we are going to work with the international community and all the parties including APNU in the parliament to strengthen the laws surrounding the conduct of election, to remove discretion and the room for capricious behaviour by any elected official,” the VP stated.

“That is why the representation of the People Act has been out in the public domain for several months now. We have received recommendations, we are in the process of looking through those recommendations, redrafting the recommendations to be tabled in the next sitting of the parliament and that legislation will be debated there.”

He said the reform of the ROPA legislation will help to determine transparency around the conduct of the elections, tabulation of the results and announcement of results.

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