MP calls for contract of GECOM Chair to be made public

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Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Highlighting that one year is nearing since retired Justice James Patterson was unilaterally selected Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), former Attorney General and Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Nandlall is questioning why was his contract not made public.

Articulating that the Chairmanship position is not a private office but a public and constitutional one, which is paid from public funds (taxpayers dollars) Nandlall, in a post of social media, reasoned that his “contract, its terms and conditions and the remuneration and benefits paid thereunder are not secrets but information to which the public is entitled.”

“Every Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission signed a contract of service upon their appointment. It is this contract that contains the terms and conditions of service, inclusive of the remuneration package and benefits to which the office holder is entitled” he said further, while outlining that “to date, no one has seen a copy of his contract of service, despite repeated requests from the Opposition Commissioners at the Commission for a copy of the contract to be brought before the Commission for their perusal.”

Noting the apparent refusal on the part of GECOM to facilitate the Opposition Commissioners with the contract, Nandlall questioned, inter alia, whether it was “another sweetheart deal” or if there was indeed a contract to begin with.

Outlining that the Government needs to be accountable to the people, the MP made the call for Patterson’s contract to be made public.

GECOM Chair James Patterson

His concerns reportedly stem from unconfirmed reports that Patterson may be getting double than what his predecessor, Dr Steve Surujbally was receiving when he was the Chairman, in addition to a whole host of additional benefits that Patterson allegedly articulated for in his discussions with President David Granger, hours before he was handpicked for the position.

This is as the President, over a period of 10 months, rejected three lists comprising of 18 reputable persons who were chosen by the Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo following consultations with the relevant stakeholders.

One of the stakeholder bodies, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) was vocal about the move by the President to move away from the long held constitutional prescription and unilaterally appoint someone of his own choosing.

“The decision of the President to act unilaterally and independently of the submissions of the Leader of the Opposition poses a clear threat to democracy and will inevitably divide the nation and lead to economic instability. It is a dangerous decision” the PSC had said after Patterson was appointed Chair in October of 2017.

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