President, Opposition Leader to meet today

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

The much anticipated meeting between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on the appointment of a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will take place today (Thursday).

In a letter, dated July 3, the Head of State proposed that the two leaders meet at 15:00h today at the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP). The correspondence was sent by Director of MotP Joseph Harmon and addressed to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Executive Member Gail Teixeira, both of whom have been acting on behalf of the respective political leaders.

INews understands that the Opposition Leader will be attending the meeting.

Over the weekend, correspondences between the Government and the Opposition sparked much public debate after it was suggested that the President submits his own list of nominees for the GECOM Chair.

“The Government interpreted [the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling] to mean that both the President and Leader of the Opposition will provide nominees on the list of six persons. It is hoped that the Leader of the Opposition could quickly communicate his view on this issue before a date for the meeting with the President is finalised,” Harmon had reasoned in the letter sent last Friday.

However, that proposal was immediately rejected by the Opposition. In fact, Teixeira pointed out that Article 161 of the Constitution makes it the Opposition Leader’s job to submit names to the President, not the other way around. She noted too that to do otherwise would be a case of the President usurping the Opposition Leader’s role.

“The Leader of the Opposition wishes to remind that the Caribbean Court of Justice, in its recent judgment, in interpreting Article 161 (2) of the Constitution, examined the letter, spirit and intendment of that Article. Therefore, the judgement of the Court must be construed as giving obeisance to the Article, rather than derogating from it,” she responded.

“In this regard, it was never a matter of controversy that the list of six names must emanate from the Leader of the Opposition and the appointment of one therefrom is exclusively the remit of the President,” Teixeira also wrote.