LETTER: Majority of Guyanese  view the President’s decision as a rejection of democratic norms

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Dear Editor,
In the face of an encroaching dictatorship, there is no place for subtleness and diplomacy; the time for political correctness has elapsed.
From my interactions, while a few in the media and APNU/AFC apologists have no qualms or misgivings in defending the indefensible and dividing our country, the majority of right-thinking Guyanese  view the President’s decision as a rejection of democratic and constitutional norms.
To unilaterally appoint a retired Justice as GECOM Chairman or anyone else for that matter outside provisions of the Constitution and the long-valued, accepted Carter/Price formula is to contaminate the electoral machinery and process, thus casting a shadow of distrust and suspicion ahead of Local Government and General Elections to be held in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
There could be no justification for the President’s deviation from his promises of social cohesion, transparency, and accountability.

It is time we reject the injection of race and ethnicity in every discussion; it serves to further polarise our society as is being done by the APNU/AFC’s proxy groups. It is disgusting to denigrate the GECOM controversy into a choice of race over the Constitution, law and principles of good governance.
To see in the days that followed Granger’s unconstitutional act, a group claiming to represent the interest of Rastafarians and the black community issue a statement glorifying his deviation into dictatorial terrains, by basically stating that it was time for an Afro-Guyanese to be elevated to the position of GECOM Chair could not be more catastrophic to social cohesion and race relations in Guyana. That statement was dishonest since it failed in recognising that Rudy Collins, an Afro-Guyanese, served as GECOM Chairman in 1992.
But more than that, there were several Afro-Guyanese on the list submitted by the Opposition Leader, many of whom are fittingly qualified with appropriate managerial and technical skills over Patterson, yet they did not win the confidence of the President. It leaves right-thinking Guyanese to speculate that the President had some hidden criteria, if not sinister motive.
I, therefore, agree with the Opposition Leader and other right-thinking Guyanese  who have posited that the issues is not whether retired Justice Patterson is black, white or blue, but it is the manner in which his appointment was done. It was expeditious, lacked transparency, consultation and input from members of society and political parties aligned with the coalition Government. No other president since 1992 had abandoned the Constitution or the Carter/ Price formula the way President Granger did. No other decision taken by President Granger has the potential to undo our democracy as his unconstitutional appointment of retired Justice Patterson as GECOM head. It is an affront to our democracy and social cohesion and warrants condemnation in the strongest possible language.
Sincerely,
Attiya Baksh

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