President David Granger yesterday provided an update to the media on the meeting between the Opposition and the Government on the interpretation of Article 161 (2), which speaks to the nominees for the appointment of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
On January 19, last, President Granger said that the most efficient way to ensure legal clarification on the requirements for the appointment of a Chairman of GECOM, would be for legal representatives of the Opposition and the Government to meet to discuss their interpretations of Article 161 (2).
Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, has nominated the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, to meet with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.
“I have asked them to meet and to see in what ways they can have a common interpretation of the Constitution. In the final analysis, it is a constitutional matter and I felt that the Constitution was quite clear.
“So if there were any opaqueness or obscurity I hope the meeting between the two attorneys would clarify that, so I am anxious to move ahead. It is a constitutional office and my interpretation of the Constitution was quite clear,” President Granger said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Presidency said that the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, wrote to Williams in January asking that the meeting be organised any time after January 25. Given that he was in Jamaica at this time, Minister Williams said that he has undertaken to set a date next week for the meeting to happen.
A few days ago, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, told Kaieteur News that the Opposition has a “moral responsibility and an obligation” under the law to present a list that is “not unacceptable.”
Nagamootoo said that as a participant in the Constitutional Reform process, and having looked at the intention of the Carter Formula, which requires that six names be submitted to the President that are not unacceptable, would fly in the face of the Formula, logics and reason.
“If you try to put names that would be a provocation that would invite the President to say the list is unacceptable. Remember the President cannot just say ‘I don’t agree with this person or I don’t agree with this person’.
“You have to deem the entire list unacceptable so I believe that the approach taken by the Leader of the Opposition to exclude from the list rather than include in the list was in fact, a recipe for a rejection of the entire list.”
GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, who served for over a decade and a half, signalled his intention to step down on November 30, 2016 with the process to find a replacement commencing almost immediately. However, the choice is turning out to be anything but “normal”.
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