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– President makes announcement; says advised of GECOM’s readiness– date clashes with CSEC, CAPE examsIt is official now. Guyanese will be heading to the polls on Monday, May 11th to elect a new Government.The announcement yesterday by President Donald Ramotar was not totally unexpected, and would come a little more than two months after he prorogued Parliament and in the face of growing pressure by both local and international bodies.President Donald RamotarIt would mean that Ramotar, who was sworn in December 2011, would see his Presidency cut short by almost two years. On November 10, facing a no-confidence debate by an Opposition-controlled National Assembly that was unhappy over what was seen as unapproved spending, among other things, President Ramotar announced that he was using his powers to suspend Parliament.The National Assembly had been in recess for two months and had faced delays over its reconvening because of wrangling over who had the authority to recall it. It was an unusual situation that Guyana had found itself in.President Ramotar said that he wanted to stave off political conflict and engage the Opposition on a number of issues. His explanation was met with disbelief by the Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) – equally determined not to engage in talks until the National Assembly was reconvened or elections called.They threatened to block any contracts signed by Government during the prorogation period.In his New Year’s message, the Head of State said that he would be announcing a date as soon as possible.The prorogation of Parliament had seen even the diplomatic community being drawn into the limelight.Last week, British High Commission,Wholesale Jerseys From China, Andrew Ayre, who is ending his tenure in a matter of days, made it clear that his Government could not tolerate the current situation. He called for an end to the stalemate, saying that, that Parliament’s scrutiny was imperative to its continued financial assistance. He had immediately attracted a wave of criticism, including the assertion that Government would be happy to see the back of him.The United States had also urged for the situation to be corrected.Donald Ramotar had entered Government facing an uphill task after the Opposition managed to gain a one-seat advantage in the 65-seat National Assembly. For over two years, starting in 2012, the Opposition, boosted by that advantage, leveraged on its voting powers, and refused to back key projects.Falling under the hammer was key legislation, including for the US$850M-plus Amaila Falls hydro electric project. Also suffering was an amendment to the current anti-money laundering laws, which would have allowed for Guyana to comply with international regulations.Funding to several programmes like the Amerindian Development Fund and the US$150M Timehri airport expansion project also suffered.The Ramotar administration has also not been without its controversy with questions over the multi-billion drug contracts to a sole entity; the failed Skeldon sugar estate project, and corruption involving key Government officials.The relations with private media houses also sunk to a low, especially with the publication of threats issued to Kaieteur News by a Minister.The Opposition too has come under flak for its performance.Yesterday, President Ramotar in the statement announcing the date for General and Regional Elections, and released through the Government Information Agency (GINA),Cheap MLB Jerseys Authentic, said that he has been advised that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) would be in a state of readiness for these polls on that date.However, it appears as though it was only GECOM’s readiness that was considered in the grand scheme of things, as immediately after the announcement,Jerseys From China, there were a number of frantic calls to this newspaper by concerned students,Adidas NHL Jerseys China, teachers and parents, who indicated that a number of Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate are scheduled for that date.For the record, the following examinations are slated for May 11:CSEC(MORNING) AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE D/A 2 (General); AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE S/A 2 (General)THEATRE ARTS 1 (General)(AFTERNOON) ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY 1 –Technical; FOOD & NUTRITION 2 (General)CAPE(MORNING) Geometrical & Mechanical Engineering Drawing Unit 1 Paper 2 ; History Unit 1 Paper 2; Art & Design Examinations to begin for Unit 1, Papers 2 and 3, and Unit 2,Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys, Papers 1 and 2; (AFTERNOON) Communication Studies Paper 2This is a quite significant development as it is highly unlikely that the regional exam body will deviate in any way from its final timetable to facilitate Guyana and its polls, and in relation to the elections, a number of schools across the country are used as polling stations.It is clear that this may not have been taken into consideration by President Ramotar and his advisors when the decision was made.Below is the full text of President Ramotar’s statement:My fellow Guyanese, as you will recall I prorogued Parliament on November 10, 2014.  In doing so, I indicated that I was opting to preserve rather than end the life of the 10th Parliament.  I was also attempting to avoid further political conflict and seek avenues of political accommodation between my government and the parliamentary opposition parties.I had hoped that the period of prorogation would have allowed for extant tensions to ease and for all of the parliamentary parties to constructively engage the government.  At all times I have acted in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana.I also did it to enfranchise those persons, though no fault of their own, who could not get on the Voters Roll at the last election because of lack of source documents, mainly residents living in the hinterland.Unfortunately, the opportunities that prorogation provided for continued dialogue and engagements with the parliamentary opposition parties have not materialized.  The parliamentary opposition adopted an inflexible position that they will not engage with me until parliament is reconvened.  I had hoped that they would have reconsidered this unproductive posture and meet with me so that we can discuss our differences and find solutions to advance the development of Guyana.During this current period, my government paid strict adherence to the Constitution in administering the welfare of our nation.  Further there were regular interactions with national and international stakeholders to keep them abreast with developments and my efforts to reach some level of political consensus.Meetings were also held with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to emphasize the need for their readiness for holding free, fair, transparent and efficient elections.  This was consistent with my intention to call general elections should there be failure to find accommodation with the parliamentary opposition parties.  You will recall that in December 2014, I had alerted international observers to the possibility of elections in 2015.  Also, at a Press Conference I assured the nation that I was going to announce a date for General and Regional Elections early in the New Year as not to disrupt the holiday season.  My commitment to preserving and strengthening our democracy is unquestionable.I made it clear then that I remained open to dialogue with the opposition parties.  It is a door that I did not nor do not intend to shut, now or ever.  In light of the opposition’s sustained refusal to engage my Government in the dialogue we anticipated and in light of the commitment I made to you, the people of Guyana, I now move towards general elections.In the circumstances, I hereby announce that General and Regional Elections shall be held on Monday, 11th May,Wholesale NFL Jerseys China, 2015.I am advised that GECOM would be in a state of readiness for these polls on that date.As usual, I intent to invite international observers to be part of the elections process and I will expect the political parties, the security services and the people of Guyana to conduct themselves in a manner that would ensure continued peace and stability before, during and after the elections.  We have a collective obligation to ensure the protection of the democratic gains we have made and for which we have endured so much as a nation to secure.
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