US group says Guyana Private Sector Commission must be treated as political entity

Monday, January 21, 2019

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — A New York-based Guyanese group says the Guyana Private Sector Commission (PSC) commission “must now be treated as a political entity and enemy of democracy”, following the commission's endorsement of the opposition People's Progressive Party (PPP).

On Saturday, the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) said that PSC officially endorsed the PPP's stance on the no-confidence vote on January 16.

“It called for the democratically elected government of Guyana to resign and call elections following an attempted coup by the PPP,” said CGID Guyanese-born president Rickford Burke, an international law consultant on the PSC endorsement.

“The PSC interjected itself into this political firestorm, after the Chief Justice announced that she will, in two weeks, rule on the legality of the no-confidence vote, which, if deemed lawful, could precipitate elections in 2019.”

Burke said the PSC is “cognizant that Article 106 (7) of the constitution mandates that, pursuant to the successful passage of a no-confidence vote, the government shall only resign after an election is held and a new president is sworn it.”

He said Article 106 (7) cannot be invoked, “because a challenge to December 21, 2018 no confidence vote is sub judice”, meaning that the matter is before a court or a judge and therefore not yet decided.

“When a matter has yet to be proved or disproved in a court case, it is sub judice and unable to be discussed or stated as a fact in public,” according to “By not referring to matters that are sub judice, the rights to a fair trial are protected, because it ensures that a potential jury is not influenced by misinformation or false claims.”

Furthermore, Burke said elections in Guyana “cannot be held unless and until the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is statutorily prepared for the polls.”

“These facts notwithstanding, the PSC mustered the audacity to lecture to GECOM that it must prepare for elections in 90 days,” he argued.

“GECOM does not have to prepare for election in 90 days,” he affirmed. “The election shall be held when GECOM satisfies requirements mandated by its governing statutes and within its administrative capability; none of which is within the purview of the PPP puppets in the PSC.”

Additionally, Burke said “the nation does not need the PSC to lecture it on the lawful course of action, if the court does not vitiate the no-confidence vote”.

“The constitution prescribes the ensuing process, and the arbiter of any dispute arising therefrom is the court,” he said. “Rather than lecture the nation about the constitution, while running political interference for the PPP, the PSC should engage in more constructive private sector initiatives, such as admonishing its members to pay their fair share of city and corporate taxes, and to comply with fully the nation's labour laws.”

Burke said that while he has “friends in the PSC” whom he respects, the commission also “comprises pseudo-oligarchs who are ensconced in the PPP”.

He said that government backbencher Charrandas Persaud “allegedly conspired with the PPP and elements in the private sector to overthrow the democratically-elected APNU+AFC coalition government.”

Shortly afterwards, Persaud fled to Canada.

He said, “Guyanese know that the PSC remained silent as the PPP threatened 'widespread violence' if the court rules against the vote,” alleging that “this threat was made by the opposition leader and PPP MP Harry Gill.”

Burke, therefore, said Guyanese, particularly the youth, “must reject these false prophets, whose greed and avarice have driven them to become enemies of our democracy.

“They are destroying our country and the future of our youth,” he claimed. “The members of the PSC, RISE and other groups have all been lecturing the nation from their pedestals as so-called 'civil society stakeholders'.

“But, let us watch and see who among them will unmask their pretence to become candidates for the PPP in the next election,” Burke said.

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