Confusion swirls ahead of meeting to shortlist GECOM Chairman nominees

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Ahead of the next meeting today between representatives from the People’s Progressive Party and the ruling coalition, the Opposition has dispatched a letter to the Government seeking clarity on a number of issues.

In the letter, written by PPP member Gail Teixeira and addressed to Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, the Opposition sought clarity on what the Government meant by the terms “shortlisted” and “active consideration”.

At their last meeting, the government team informed that five of the names from the Opposition’s 11 nominees were rejected.

However, four were shortlisted and two understand consideration.

Teixeira wrote: In the circumstances, we now enquire of the meaning and purport of the terms “no objection”, “tending towards acceptability” and “short-listed”.

“We further and specifically enquire, hereof, whether these names are “not unacceptable” to the President.”

The letter added that the Party was also informed that another two of the names submitted were singled out as being “pending/under active consideration”.

“In the circumstances, we now enquire of the meaning and purport of these terminologies; before whom are these names pending, under whose consideration are they active, the President or his representatives and are these names “not unacceptable” to the President?”

Teixeira also questioned whether the decision to reject five of these names and the reasons that were proffered, originated from President David Granger, or from his representatives – Harmon, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.

“We must emphasise that if the views expressed at the meetings are those of the President’s representatives and not of the President, and, therefore, names “hammered out” at these engagements are still required to obtain the acceptability of the President, then these engagements would have been, largely, futile, if not, perfunctory.”

Teixeira noted that so far, the engagements of her and her team – comprising other PPP parliamentarians Juan Edghill and Anil Nandlall – with the Government side have failed to meet these expectations.
“We are obliged to inform you that this communication and any response received hereto will be disclosed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) before the 12th July 2019, so we shall appreciate a response by tomorrow, 11th July 2019, at 12 noon.”

The Party also noted that the Government’s response “may determine whether this engagement will continue or whether, we will revert to the Leader of the Opposition and the President engaging, personally, as mandated by Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.”

Since the CCJ ruled that former GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson was appointed unconstitutionally, he has resigned. As such, Jagdeo and Granger have been trying to find a replacement to carry out the necessary early elections. In keeping with this, Jagdeo submitted a list of 11 nominees gleaned from the lists he submitted in 2017, before Patterson’s unilateral appointment.