Jagdeo says will con­tinue lead­ing PPP no mat­ter what CCJ rules

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

Op­po­si­tion Leader Bhar­rat Jagdeo yes­ter­day said that ir­re­spec­tive of the out­come of the im­pend­ing rul­ing by the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice (CCJ) on the pres­i­den­tial term limit, which will de­ter­mine whether he can run for a third term, he will con­tinue to lead the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party (PPP) as its Gen­eral Sec­re­tary and would also play a role in its next govern­ment.

“In that ca­pac­ity, I will con­tinue to spear­head the Party’s strug­gle for a bet­ter life for all Guyanese, es­pe­cially the work­ing peo­ple, the poor and the un­der­priv­i­leged, for racial and na­tional unity and for vic­tory at the polls at the next Lo­cal Govern­ment, Re­gional and Na­tional Elec­tions,” Jagdeo said in a state­ment is­sued by the party last even­ing.

His state­ment comes in wake of the an­nounce­ment by the re­gional court that it will de­liver a rul­ing on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the pres­i­den­tial term limit on Tues­day at 2 pm.

The Trinidad-based fi­nal court will be pro­nounc­ing on the state’s ap­peal of de­ci­sions by both the Supreme Court and the Guyana Court of Ap­peal, which have ruled in favour of Cedric Richard­son, a pri­vate cit­i­zen who in the run-up to the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions chal­lenged re­stric­tions cre­ated by amend­ments to Ar­ti­cle 90 of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

His ar­gu­ment had been that Act No 17 of 2001, which was passed by a two-thirds ma­jor­ity of all elected mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly to only al­low for a pres­i­dent to serve two terms, “un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally cur­tails and re­stricts” his sov­er­eign and demo­cratic rights and free­dom as a qual­i­fied elec­tor to elect Jagdeo, who served for two terms, as ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­dent.

At­tor­neys for the state had ar­gued that amend­ments to ef­fect the pres­i­den­tial term limit were done in ac­cor­dance with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­pend­ing de­ci­sion, Jagdeo, who has dis­tanced him­self re­peat­edly from the case, said yes­ter­day that mul­ti­tudes of sup­port­ers of the PPP/C and even across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide have made con­tact with him.

“Many con­cerns were raised, in­clud­ing the pub­lic state­ments of those in Govern­ment in re­spect of a par­tic­u­lar out­come. As a re­sult, I am moved to pub­licly as­sure that what­ever the rul­ing is, I am and will re­main the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the PPP,” he said.

“Un­like the 2011-2015 pe­riod, where I played no for­mal part in the PPP Ad­min­is­tra­tion, I in­tend to be a for­mal part of the next PPP govern­ment as we re­sume the im­ple­men­ta­tion of plans to build a bet­ter coun­try of which all our peo­ple can feel proud,” he added.

It is ex­pected that if the terms limit is up­held, it could deepen di­vi­sions in the PPP over who should lead the party as its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date at the 2020 gen­eral elec­tions.

In his state­ment, Jagdeo, who re­turned to lead the party in the Na­tional As­sem­bly and se­cured the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary post af­ter its de­feat in the 2015 polls, said the PPP is not built on per­son­al­i­ties but on poli­cies “all de­signed to cre­ate a bet­ter life for our peo­ple, and forge racial, eth­nic and class unity. I re­main com­mit­ted to these poli­cies and causes and will con­tinue to strug­gle with the Party to achieve them.”

He added that he was “ab­so­lutely hum­bled at the over-whelm­ing con­fi­dence which the Guyanese peo­ple have con­tin­ued to place in me and I re­main eter­nally grate­ful for their con­tin­ued sup­port.”

Bhar­rat Jagdeo

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