Letter: Delay to fill GECOM Chairman position must end

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Dear Editor,

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) – representing the country’s largest number of organised workers – joins with those other political, social and civic organisations, groups and persons to express our concern over President Granger’s obvious reluctance to choose a person from the two lists, so far, presented by the Opposition Leader to fill the position of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

It is befuddling that of the 12 respectable Guyanese proposed to the President, he has not found any “acceptable”. We of FITUG noted that the President presented the Opposition Leader and the nation with his own interpretation of Article 161 of the Constitution which indicated just who the President would regard as “acceptable”.

Also, we and the public have not been enlightened for the rejection of the persons on the two lists. By not giving the nation reasons for his rejection of the two lists of 12 nominees, President Granger leaves us and others to think that the 12 Guyanese are not capable of being professionally impartial or competent to work, with the other six Commissioners who will sit on GECOM.

Now, even as the patient Opposition Leader continues the unenviable task and consults the wider society in this arduous quest to submit yet another (third) list, it has already been mooted that should the good President find those other six persons to be “unacceptable” to him, some group of wise arbiters will be appointed to come up with a solution – if not a Chairman.

To delay the choice of a Chairman effectively leaving this vital Elections Commission headless will certainly impact negatively on the many-sided tasks related to elections that are the responsibility of GECOM.

We have the dubious assurance that the President’s procrastination will not have implications or affect preparations for the 2019 Local Government Elections and the 2020 General Elections.

FITUG has been consulted by the Opposition Leader with respect to all his submissions. In those consultations, we endorsed the names on the previous two lists and regard them as upright, matured and qualified Guyanese.

This delay to fill the position of Chairman of GECOM must come to an end. The suspicions around such a delay do not augur well for our nation’s well-being nor its reputation regionally and internationally. In terms of free and fair elections, we have come through a difficult past. Let us keep distancing our country from those years and instead be proud of a new architecture built on democratic norms and principles.

Sincerely,

Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana
(FITUG)

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