Former Attorney General (AG) and Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall believes that finding another six persons for the third list for the Guyana Elections Commissions (Gecom) chairman might be an impossible task.
The second list which included Justice of Appeal B.S Roy (retd.), Justice William Ramlall (retd.), Ms Oneidge Waldron-Allicock, Attorney-at-law Kashir Khan, Attorney-at-law Nadia Sagar and Gerald Gouveia was rejected by the president.
Nandlall said the President has managed to make what was historically, a very smooth and straightforward exercise, one that is now complicated and politically acrimonious.
The former AG said that the President cannot seriously boast a better understanding of the Carter Formula and what it expresses in Article 161 (2) than the late former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte S.C.
Nandlall said because Hoyte participated in the coinage of the Carter Formula and was an eminent Senior Counsel, he was therefore schooled in the interpretation of a constitution.
Making a comparison, Nandlall said Hoyte participated four times in the process of compiling names and submitting them to different presidents of the PPP/C administration with seamless ease and without any controversy whatsoever.
The former AG said what we now have is a bizarre interpretation of Article 162 by the president which distorts both the letter and the spirit of the Article.
Nandlall said that the President tells us that Article 161 (2) accords priority in relation to persons who are judges, former judges and persons qualified to be judges over and above “any other fit and proper person”.
It is Nandlall’s legal interpretation that the Constitution does no such thing. The Head of State also expects that these persons forming the list must not be religious leaders or part of any faith-based organization.
The persons who aspire to become the chairman must also not be an activist in areas such as human rights and gender discrimination.
What the PPP/C is most dissatisfied about is that all six persons must be found acceptable before the President chooses one.
Nandlall said if five confirm to the criteria and one does not, then the entire list becomes unacceptable, though he finds the five others acceptable.
Mr Nandlall is of the view that such an approach has misled the President in rejecting the two lists submitted. He said unless this approach is corrected this cyclical exercise of submission and rejection of lists may become never-ending.
Nandlall said the pool to draw from has become significantly narrower and more importantly, persons would become even more reluctant to offer their names for the fear of the public damage and humiliation to their professional reputation.
The former AG said he is hopeful that the proposed engagement between the President and the Leader of the Opposition on the compilation of the third list would result in the President changing his position on his misinterpretation of Article 161 (2).
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