GECOM Chair issue referred back to President, Opposition Leader

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File: President David Granger at a previous meeting

At end of the third day of talks between the Government and Opposition representatives on nominees for the new Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) still could not get clarity on whether its reduced list of five names are acceptable by President David Granger.

PPP Executive Member and former Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, who is leading the team on behalf of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had written her government counterpart, Joseph Harmon, the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, seeking clarity on a number of issues including what it meant by “shortlisting”, among other terms used.

According to Teixeira, while the Opposition has accepted the rejection of six names from a pool of 11 nominees, they are still not sure whether those five “shortlisted” are acceptable to the president or not.

Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall stated that there was no decision made at that engagement, whereby 13 names were agreed upon for consideration by the President and the Leader of the Opposition.

Nandlall further pointed out that the eight names having emanated from the President, must be taken to be “not unacceptable” to the President and that Article 161 (2), as interpreted by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), requires the “hammering out” of names submitted by the Opposition Leader in order to identify those which find the “not acceptability” of the President, since the President is not permitted to appoint one of his own choosing.

“It is at this stage that we were met with the shocking disclosure from the President’s delegation that those 8 names do not enjoy the confidence of the President!!! Expectedly, this disclosure revealed to us that continuing the engagement would not yield the desired result. Hence, we decided to abort it and revert to our respective Principals”, he added.

As such, Nandlall highlighted that only five names were “shortlisted” in moving forward and they are none the wiser in relation to the reason for the “shortlisting”.

Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at his weekly press conference had said that the engagement between the representatives is time-wasting.

Apart from noting that some of the objections raised by the representatives from the government’s side on his 11 nominees are frivolous, Jagdeo added that it appears as though the members of government’s delegation seem to be exercising their own opinions on the Opposition’s nominees and then still have to go to the President for his.

President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo are expected to meet soon to bring closure to the issue.