PPP condemns PNC leader for comments on elections petition

By Michelle Elphage
Guyana Chronicle
October 29, 1999

THE People's Progressive Party (PPP), the main arm of the governing PPP/Civic alliance yesterday condemned the leader of the main opposition party for making comments on the elections petition that is still before the Court.

A statement from the party's Freedom House Headquarters, Robb Street, Georgetown, said the PPP read with "shock and disbelief" the comments made by PNC leader, Mr Desmond Hoyte, analysing evidence being given in the elections petition and publicising his conclusions.

Hoyte at a press conference Wednesday accused the Chief Elections Officer of stringing out the elections petition beyond January 2001, the time set for the next general elections.

"Witness after witness called on behalf of the Chief Elections Officer has been giving the same damaging evidence, and yet he continues to trot out more of these witnesses whose testimony so manifestly undermines his case," Hoyte told reporters at the PNC's Congress Place, Sophia, Headquarters.

The PPP has also lashed out at statements from the PNC leader criticising the governing party's attitude to Constitution Reform and the public servants arbitral pay-out.

"He (Hoyte) has obviously forgotten that it is his party which delayed by six months the commencement of the reform process by not attending Parliament to approve legislation for the establishment of a Constitution Reform Commission," the PPP release said.

"Hoyte knows very well that the Special Select Committee on Constitution Reform is working overtime to complete its report to the National Assembly by October 31, but it is now predictable that he would use every deadline to influence the political atmosphere towards his specific, all-too- familiar agenda."

The PNC leader at his press conference accused the PPP of "obstructionist tactics" in the Constitution Reform process, declaring that his party would not accept that the Select Committee has discharged its mandate if it did not settle the matter of the country's electoral system.

"The People's National Congress is of the view that unless this matter is settled before 31 October 1999, the party could not accept that the Select Committee has discharged its mandate within the agreed deadline. This would be politically unsettling," Hoyte said.

The PPP added that it is "mystified" at Hoyte's ultimatum to the Government to meet its pay obligation to public servants, when Parliament is to meet today to approve supplementary estimates that will cover the money for the increase.

An arbitration Tribunal in August awarded a 31 per cent salary increase for this year to public servants and a further 26 per cent for next year.

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