Chief Whip of the Parliamentary Opposition, Ms Gail Teixeira, has dispatched a letter to the Government seeking advice on how it intends to address the imminent vacancy of the chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Outgoing Chairperson Dr Steve Surujbally has formally indicated to the Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo that he will be resigning from the position with effect November 30.
Reports indicate that Dr Surujbally had already informed President David Granger of his intention to retire as GECOM Chairman, a position which he has held since 2001.
Teixeira, in the correspondence sent to State Minister Joseph Harmon, outlined that in light of the fast approaching deadline, the Opposition Leader would like to know the approach the Head of State intends to take in filling the vacancy as provided for in Article 161 of the Constitution of Guyana.
“Specifically, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Bharrat Jagdeo, MP, wishes to be informed whether the President will formally write to him inviting him to submit his six nominees as required by Article 161 or whether the President will initiate a preliminary formal meeting with him to discuss the appointment of a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in accordance with the letter and spirit of Article 161 of the Constitution of Guyana.”
Jagdeo, at his recent news conference, said he had expected that by now, the Head of State would have initiated the process since Dr Surujbally had signalled months ago his intention to depart GECOM.
“I’ve not received any indication from the President when he intends to trigger that provision. Now this is very worrying for us, given the sloth in this government, its incompetence and the sensitivity surrounding GECOM. We’re suspicious that there may be a lengthy delay in that entire process,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Jagdeo said he has already started looking at some individuals to submit as candidates to replace Dr Surujbally.
Following the 2015 General and Regional Elections, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic mounted a series of protests calling for the removal of Dr Surujbally from the helm of GECOM in wake of their strong belief that he supervised a rigged electoral process.