Opposition to consult ‘widely’ next week on Surujbally’s replacement

Former GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has disclosed that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has already initiated a process which will see it engaging in broad consultations next week with several civil society, labour and religious organisations on who should be the six nominees for the impending vacant post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The names of the six nominees are to be submitted by the Opposition Leader, to President David Granger, for his approval of one of those persons to replace outgoing GECOM Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally.

Jagdeo, at a news conference today, noted that since he received the letter from the President two days ago, he has already “initiated a process that will see us consulting widely with civil society beginning next week”.

Outgoing GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally
Outgoing GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally

According to the former President, these consultations are slated to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now that the Ministry of the Presidency has responded to the Opposition Leader’s Office on whether and when President Granger intends to kick-start the process to succeed Dr. Surujbally from December 1, the Opposition Leader said he would next week consult with several non-governmental organisations.

Jagdeo identified the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Red Thread and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) as being among the NGOs, Labour and Civil Society and Religious groupings that the Opposition will be meeting with as part of the process to arrive at six names for submission to President Granger.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon, earlier today, said the list should include names that are not unacceptable to the President or the process would have to restart.

Dr Surujbally, currently on vacation, is expected to demit office on November 30.
The GECOM Chair had earlier written to the government about his desire to resign and had recommended a raft of measures of reform.
He had told the media that he has been expressing his desire to demit office since 2006.
Dr Surujbally has been at the helm of GECOM since 2001.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has repeatedly called for the resignation of Surujbally in wake of their strong belief that he supervised a rigged electoral process last year.

Observer missions of the Commonwealth, Carter Centre and Organisation of American States have long urged that a new mechanism be developed to select and appoint the commission from a list of non-political persons. GECOM is the entity that is responsible for the administration and conduct of elections in Guyana.




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