President David Granger on Thursday announced that he is in receipt of the third list of nominees submitted by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, for the post of the new Guyana Elections Commissions (GECOM) Chairman and is in the process of examining the candidates.
“I have received the list, I have responded to Mr Jagdeo, the Leader of the Opposition, stating that I have received the list and I’m examining those names now, very critically,” he told media operatives at the sidelines of an event at State House.
According to Granger, he plans to discuss the matter of selection with his colleagues and does not expect that a decision will be made before next Tuesday’s Cabinet.
“I don’t make these decisions without advice and I will discuss these matters with my colleagues. It certainly won’t be before next cabinet which will be held on Tuesday,” Granger said.
Jagdeo, on Friday last, disclosed that he had submitted the third list of nominees to President David Granger.
The candidates on the list included, Major General Joseph Singh, Teni Housty, Sanjeev Datadin, Ms Annette Arjoon-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.
The Opposition Leader had said that he was hopeful that the President would select one of the six names he presented, since he [Jagdeo] selected the candidates based on the ruling of the acting Chief Justice.
He further explained that the absence of a Chairperson at GECOM “is an untenable position” since “the work there, in GECOM is totally stalled- they are on remote and automatic mode and many of the pressing issues that have to be solved for local and national elections cannot be addressed and so there is a sense of urgency and it will affect preparations.”
Probed for his plans in the event that the President rejects yet another one of his lists, Jagdeo maintained that he does not want to “speculate” and he is hoping for the best.
The Opposition Leader had submitted his first list of six nominees for the position of the GECOM chairperson during the last part of 2016. However, President Granger had maintained that the list was “unacceptable.”
The second list submitted by Jagdeo was also met with rejection, with Granger saying that the nominees did not satisfy the criteria.
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 Roxanne George ruled against President Granger’s interpretation of Guyana’s 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.
Just recently, the British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn called on the authorities here to appoint a Chairperson for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as soon as possible considering Local Government Elections (LGE) are right around the corner [in 2019]. (Ramona Luthi)