The fallout continues from President Granger’s unilateral appointment of 84 year-old retired Justice, James Patterson as Chairman of Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) to replace Dr. Surijbally.
A few days after the appointment, the PPP pursued legal action with the intent to squash the appointment. This was followed by the decision of former Major General, Joe Singh to publicly tender his resignation from all government posts, including his job as Special Assistant to President Granger. Seemingly angry and disappointed, the retired Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) may well be sending a message to the President that he is unhappy with his unilateral appointment of the Chairman of GECOM.
In his current role as special advisor to the president, a position for which he has had extensive training, preparation and experience, the former Chief-of-Staff perhaps did the dignified thing by resigning due to the fact that his name was on the third list submitted by the opposition leader but was not chosen because he was not deemed fit and proper by the President.
However, that simply is not nearly good enough for his resignation because in the aftermath of the prison riots which led to the burning down of the Camp Street Prison, Singh had praised the President for his handling of the situation.
Mr. Joe Singh did not provide any reason for his surprise decision to resign just four days after the president appointed a new Chairman of GECOM. He has served in the governments of former Presidents, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar and was retained by the Granger Administration. Even though he may have experienced some difficulties while he served in various government departments under the last two administrations, this may well be the bitterest of pills for him to swallow.
But whatever the reason for his resignation, the retired army officer has served his country well for decades as the Chief-of-Staff of the GDF and in all other categories. His retirement should pave the way for the President to appoint a younger person as his special advisor.
We believe the Chief Executive Officer for the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) is perhaps the best and most qualified person to replace the former Chief-of-Staff as the President’s advisor.
The decision by the President has sparked a flurry of criticisms across the country and while Mr. Joe Singh has remained tight lipped about his resignation, the timing of it has added to the criticism of the appointment of GECOM Chairman. Christopher Ram, a prominent Chartered Accountant, lawyer and political commentator has followed in the footsteps of Joe Singh and has resigned from all government related positions, including his de facto leadership on the Planning Committee to establish a J.O.F. Haynes Law School. He, like Joe Singh, seems to believe that the President has snubbed them by deeming them not fit and proper to be appointed GECOM Chairman, even though Joe Singh had once served as the Chairman of GECOM.
Christopher Ram did not mince words. He said that he supported the heroic and exemplary decision of Major General Joe Singh and given that the Constitution deems him fit and proper makes the President’s assessment of him of not being fit and proper of no importance. Ram is fortified in his conviction that the decision of the President is entirely wrong and unconstitutional and that it has become increasingly evident that the government is arrogant and has shown blatant disregard for the Constitution, the people, the Courts and the principles of good governance.
Both Ram and Singh have made excellent contributions to the country. However, it is rather sad and unfortunate that men of such excellence have decided not to serve in government anymore. It seems that many are unhappy with the President’s unilateral appointment of the new GECOM Chairman..
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