Opposition Leader submits third list of GECOM nominees to President

(File photo) Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger during a previous engagement

…says absence of a Chairperson “is an untenable position”

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo earlier today (Friday) announced that he has submitted the third list of nominees for the post of Chairperson for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to President David Granger.

At a press conference held earlier today, Jagdeo said that the list was submitted today, and since he has not received a confirmation that the President has it in his possession, he will not release the six names to the media just yet.

File photo: Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger during a previous engagement

Nevertheless, the Opposition Leader 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 Roxane 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 a few days ago, 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)



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