‘The final 6’: Discretion remains with the Leader of the Opposition – Jagdeo

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President David Granger has rejected five of the 11 nominees submitted by the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo for the post of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) during the informal process of consideration over the past two days.

This was disclosed by Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, who addressed media operatives on Tuesday following round two of the high-level talks at the Castellani House, Georgetown.

The representatives of Opposition Leader Jagdeo were People’s Progressive Party (PPP) members Gail Teixeira, Anil Nandlall and Bishop Juan Edghill and President Granger’s representatives were Harmon, Volda Lawrence and Khemraj Ramjattan.

However, the names of those individuals rejected, as well as the shortlisted and under consideration ones were not revealed. According to Harmon, this was as a result of agreements made by both parties.

With the rejection of the five unnamed nominees, the Opposition team has since indicated that the Leader of the Opposition is committed to submitting another list of names to the President for consideration, if necessary.

When asked how serious the Government was on collaborating with the Opposition, given the fact that several names included in the President’s list of nominees were those of former People’s National Congress (PNC) affiliates, Harmon posited that all the names submitted so far were all being seriously considered.

Harmon further noted that when discussions between the two sides continues on Thursday, the Opposition Leader was expected to provide his views on which of the eight nominees submitted by the President would make the final list Jagdeo would submit.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Jagdeo on Tuesday emphasised during a video address to the nation that the process currently being followed was an informal one. He said that he was prepared to consider the eight names President Granger supplied, to see which ones could potentially make it onto the list of six he has to submit.

“The formal process will be when I submit the six names to him. And this informal process is to see if we can find some commonality around names. So, the discretion remains that of the Leader of the Opposition, in accordance with our Constitution, to determine the final six,” the Opposition Leader said.

“So, I will treat the President’s suggestions seriously, but the determination will be mine, whether they will form part of the official list of six persons I submit to him,” Jagdeo added.

He also emphasised that moving ahead, the Constitution must be upheld. According to Jagdeo, he was hopeful that they continue moving forward with that understanding. He also shied away from criticising the President’s list of nominees.

The Opposition Leader first submitted a list of 11 nominees to President Granger. When the two teams met on Monday to discuss this list, the Government side submitted an informal list of its own, featuring several known PNC affiliates.

Jagdeo’s list comprises Retired Major General Joe Singh, who served as GECOM Chairman years ago; environmentalist Annette Arjoon-Martins, Retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy, businessman Captain Gerry Gouveia, Attorney-at-Law Kashir Khan, former Magistrate Krishnadatt Persaud, conflict resolution specialist Lawrence Latchmansingh; Retired Major General Norman McLean, businessman Ramesh Dookhoo, Retired Puisne Judge William Ramlall and Onesi La Fleur.

On the other hand, President Granger’s informal list comprises Retired Justices James Patterson, Claudette La Bennett, and Stanley Moore as well as economist Aubrey Armstrong, Attorney Kesaundra Alves and former Solicitor General Kim Kyte. The President also proposed known PNC affiliates Stanley Ming (a former PNC parliamentarian) and Kads Khan.