Oct 05, 2017 News
President David Granger has made it clear that he is committed to doing what is required of him in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana with respect to the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Speaking to members of the media at State House yesterday, he said: “I will continue to do what the Constitution calls upon me to do, [which is to] select a person, who is fit and proper. Nothing the Chief Justice wrote has prevented me or inhibited my exercise of that authority or that power.”
He was referencing the ruling on the matter by Chief Justice, (ag) Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire in July.
The President, who was at the time responding to questions on the third list of nominees for the role of GECOM Chairman submitted by Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, explained that he has taken the time to examine the written ruling of the Chief Justice. He said that it did not interfere with his right to select a person, who is ‘fit and proper’ as required by the Constitution.
He added that now that he has had some time to study the Chief Justice report, he looks forward to convening a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, in the coming weeks to discuss the way forward on with matter.
Article 161 (2) of the Constitution states that, “The Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who 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 jurisdictions in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit person…”
The criteria have been under much debate for the year whether the President was correct in his interpretation.
The matter ended up before the Chief Justice (ag) earlier this year for an interpretation of what the law says when it came to choosing a GECOM chairman.
The ruling has been criticised by some as being vague in some aspects.
In February, former Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally, retired after almost a decade and half at the helm of that organisation which oversees elections in the country.
The choice has been a hot button topic for both the Government and Opposition.
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