EYEWITNESS: Paramount President…


…and GECOM Chair

The Appellate Court just AFFIRMED President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM!! The backwards slide into the Imperial Presidency of Forbes Burnham continues apace, since we’re back to having the President selecting whomever he damn well pleases to the crucial position of the individual exercising the casting vote on electoral matters.

For a country as divided as we are between matching blocks – and having the sordid history of the PNC massively and flagrantly rigging elections to stay in power and exclude the “other half” – the decision makes a mockery of the efforts to institute a system that would include both sides. What the Court decreed, in effect, is the President doesn’t even glance at the list of six persons submitted by the Opposition Leader. He can just toss it into the garbage bin and blithely choose the person he wanted to from the beginning!

It smacks of the days before “meaningful consultation” was constitutionally defined and Burnham just had to “consult” with Opposition Leader Jagan on crucial decisions. He’d call up Jagan, enquire about the weather, and gleefully chortle to his attendees that he’d just “consulted” Jagan!!

While the Appellate Court purported to give the proper “normative” basis for their decision by alluding to the “intent” of the framers, they completely ignored the historical context. They referred only to the impact on the President’s prerogative of the rule that a list of six nominees must be presented by the Opposition Leader. So what’s the Opposition Leader? Chopped liver?

The “Carter Formula” gave substance to the fact that the latter is also a constitutional office like the Presidency. So, in the circumstances that led to the acceptance of consultation by both the PNC and PPP, he was given due consideration in light of the nature of politics in Guyana, so as to give legitimacy to the results of elections. It is a historical fact that when the Premier/President, under the prior rule, could unilaterally choose the GECOM Chair – once he was a Judge — Burnham picked individuals who were slavishly loyal to him, and rigged elections with impunity!! Does anyone in Guyana – including the three Justices who just made that decision – believe otherwise of Patterson?

He’s totally unacceptable to the Opposition Leader. Doesn’t this mean anything to the “Justices”? If, as one of them said, the President’s choice should be subject to the “reasonable man’s test”….shouldn’t his rejections from the list also be subjected to this test??

Which reasonable man can justify rejecting Major General (retd) Joe Singh – who’d already served with distinction as GECOM’s Chair?

Oh Judgement, thou art fled to savage beasts!!

…on sugar

How’d you respond to President Granger’s declaration to Parliament: “Sugar workers have not been abandoned to an uncertain future”??!! Since we know he isn’t living in some parallel universe, we have to assume he thinks sugar workers’ brains have gone soft after fetching 3 tonnes of cane daily for years!! He unilaterally fired 5700 sugar workers from GuySuCo and another 2000 from private cane farmers in an economy that isn’t creating jobs, and can he say their future isn’t “UNCERTAIN”??

He said, “The Government will continue to work diligently to ensure that the displaced workers are provided with opportunities to participate actively in other sectors of the economy. These include production and processing of rice and other crops, livestock, fisheries, construction, manufacturing, services and mining.” Continue to work?? Two years after the firings, not even a penny’s been allocated for such activities!! Are workers to simply trust his words?? In fact, it took a year of militant action by workers to finally have moneys allocated for their SEVERANCE pay – which is LEGALLY owed to them!!

Who does he think he’s fooling? Nagamootoo?

…and oil

Officially, five Ministries are under the Presidency. And with Ramjattan in charge of just the 2am bar curfew, the President also handles Security.

Now with the Oil Portfolio, does he need Ministers? But then, they’re all his “creatures”!!


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