President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo have agreed
that the opposition leader will submit a third list of nominees for the position of Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
This development follows a scheduled consultation yesterday between Jagdeo and Granger at State House, Carmichael Street. Granger had invited Jagdeo to discuss the issue after the second list of nominees was deemed ‘unacceptable’ by the President.
In a statement released by the Ministry of the Presidency, it was stated that during the consultation, the government’s team comprised the President, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman. Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition was accompanied by former Attorney-General Anil Nandlall and PPP/C Parliamentarian, Irfaan Ali.
The statement said, “The parties agreed that it would be in the best interest of the people of Guyana that the choice of a Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission is made without undue delay. The parties further agreed that the Leader of the Opposition will submit a new list of six names to the President.”
Further, it was agreed that in the event that the third list is rejected by the President, a high-level team would be established representing the President and the Opposition Leader to begin working instantaneously on exploring modalities to bring a resolution to the matter.
According to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Leader of the Opposition is required to submit a list of six names not unacceptable to the President from which the Chairperson of GECOM would be chosen and appointed.
The first list of nominees submitted by Jagdeo included: Lawrence Latchmansingh, Rhyaan Shah, James Rose, Norman McLean, Ramesh Dookhoo and Christopher Ram. On his second attempt, Jagdeo nominated Justice of Appeal B.S Roy (retd), Justice William Ramlal (retd), Ms Oneidge Walrond-Allicock, Attorney-at-law Kashir Khan, Attorney-at-law Nadia Sagar and Gerald Gouveia.
According to Granger, the nominees must satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and the criteria which he had defined in a correspondence to Jagdeo. The criteria set out by the President outlined qualities which the Chairperson of GECOM must possess.
He said that the persons must be one who is qualified to be a judge of the High Court under Article 129 of the Constitution and under Section 5 of the High Court Act, Cap 3:02.
Secondly, the person should have been an attorney-at-law for a minimum of seven years, according to Section 5 of the High Court Act. The President also said that in the absence of the first two requirements, ‘any other fit and proper person’ should be appointed according to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.
That same article also provides that, “if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list as provided for, the President shall appoint a person who holds or has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge.”
Despite public statements being made that the President is setting the stage to unilaterally appoint a GECOM chairperson, Granger has said that he is committed to working with Jagdeo to appoint someone that the Guyanese people deserve.
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