His Excellency President David Granger has rightfully insisted that he will only select someone who is fit and proper to serve as the next chairman of the elections commission.
His efforts are being stymied and held up by the incompetent and indolent Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, who had the unmitigated gall to say that President Granger was not fit and proper to select the chairman of the commission.
From time immemorial all appointments to the election commission that had the involvement or influence of the PNC either in opposition or in government, were above board, and those individuals served with integrity and distinction.
On the other hand, there were many appointments that were tainted by the PPP and their usual attributes.
The manner in which Jagdeo is submitting his nominations is clearly an effort to tie the Presidents hands.
Prior to 1991, according to the 1980 constitution, the President appointed a chairman of the election commission after consultation with the leader of the minority (as the office was titled).
Two more members were appointed; one from the ruling party, and one from the opposition party.
After the intervention of the Carter Center, and the PPP’s request for a change in the process of appointing the commission, then President Desmond Hoyte agreed to a new formula.
The leader of the opposition would submit a list of six names that were acceptable to the President, and the President would choose any one of the six names that were acceptable to him.
This provision found its way as a permanent fixture in the current constitution. Any list that contains unacceptable names to the President must be roundly rejected.
Jagdeo has proven that he is incapable of producing a list of fit and proper persons. For example he nominated Professor James Rose who was a PPP candidate in the 1997 general election.
How can any sane individual expect the chairman of the election commission to be someone with active or previous political bias?
Who in Guyana doesn’t know of Gerry Gouvia’s bias towards and coziness with the PPP? Jagdeo nominated a former member of the magistracy with questionable conduct.
The three lists he submitted can never be acceptable as prescribed in the constitution, because they contain people with questions about their character that do not meet the high threshold required of someone who will chair the elections commission.
But why should we be surprised?
The PPP and Jagdeo are only satisfied with questionable characters that they can manipulate.
For example the most disgraceful chairman of the election commission was Doodnauth Singh.
This is the man that conducted a secret swearing in of Janet Jagan as President, and applauded her as she threw the court order over her shoulder.
It was under his watch that results were declared without signed statements of poll. So comfortable was the PPP with this character that he became a minister in Jagdeo’s government assuming the Attorney General portfolio.
The people of Guyana elected His Excellency David Granger to safeguard Guyana’s constitutional offices.
They are relying on him to do the right thing by the country and appoint someone who is fit and proper with the requisite integrity and moral standing in society.
With the foregoing qualifications being required, one can understand why it is bear impossible for Jagdeo to come up with an acceptable list.
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