Five weeks on …President still to decide on third list of GECOM nominees

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President David Granger has said that he was awaiting the written judgement of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire and has been studying it, as it relates to arriving at a decision with regards to the naming of a chairperson for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). 

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger during a previous engagement

It is now five weeks since Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has submitted his third list of nominees for the post, but so far, there has been no definitive word from the President’s Office as to when he would go ahead and make the appointment.

“The Honourable Chief Justice has published an opinion and I have been studying that opinion and looking at the decisions that I have to make,” he told media operatives earlier today (Wednesday) while noting that her opinion does not interfere with his rights.

“It was quite clear that among everything she has written, she has not interfered with the President’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution to select a person ‘fit and proper’ and I think that in that regard, I will continue to do what the Constitution guarantees me to do- which is to select someone fit and proper,” he posited.

Moreover, Granger noted his intention to meet with the Opposition Leader very soon with regards to the matter.

“I was awaiting the CJ’s written judgment. Now that I have it in hand, I have read it much more carefully and I look forward to have a meeting with Jagdeo. I have not set a timeline because I do not know about Jagdeo’s availability. I hope next week if he is available,” the President promised.

Thus far, Jagdeo has submitted three lists of six names each to the President, for one person to be selected as the new Chairman of GECOM. However, thus far, the first and second lists have been rejected by the President.  

The President had maintained that Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana prescribes for the Chairman of the Elections Commission to be “a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court…or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit and proper person…”

As such, businessman Marcel Gaskin had moved to the court to seek clarity on the constitutional requirement for the appointment of a GECOM Chairperson.

Recently, acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire ruled against President Granger’s interpretation of the Constitution for the appointment of a GECOM chairperson, saying that there was no preference for judicial persons.

In response to the ruling, President Granger had said that the Chief Justice gave her interpretation of the law and he would continue to follow his “interpretation” of the Constitution.

The third list of names submitted for consideration include: Major General (Rtd) Joseph Singh, Teni Housty, Sanjeev Datadin, Ms Annette Arjoon-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.

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