Here are my opinions on the unfolding political scenario. 1– From the time President Granger selected Patterson outside of the Carter/Price blueprint, I believed he was laying the foundation for GECOM’s politicization.
My explanation – I didn’t think his semantic insistence for the requirement to be GECOM’s was straightforward.
Guyanese may recall that he kept insisting with expressed feelings that the words, “and any other fit and proper person” also mean that the person must be a judge and not someone from outside the judicial world. In other words, a highly decorated university professor in biology couldn’t qualify.
2- When Khemraj Ramjattan, Moses Nagamootoo and Raphael Trotman informed the nation that they proffered the advice to Granger that it was constitutionally correct for him to make a unilateral appointment, I was convinced that the AFC will play a huge part as a solid soldier behind the PNC in shaping the conduct of the 2020 elections (which now looks to be earlier than 2020).
3- The terrible governance of APNU+AFC despite friendly criticism from people like David Hinds, Lincoln Lewis and others continues unabated. This engenders feelings in people that the APNU+AFC regime is not interested in winning hearts and minds but feel that they will be back in power, meaning that either through orthodox or unorthodox routes, they will be returned.
4 – Now here is what Fred Sanford would call the big one. I cannot support the continuation of James Patterson as GECOM chairman after his submission to the ERC investigation into the complaint that its hiring practice is ethnically skewed. Patterson’s attitude to the ERC probe I would describe as unbelievable, incredible and downright unacceptable for a man who once held the priceless societal position of a judge.
So incredulous was what I read that I thought I should not reproduce media reports on this attitude of Patterson unless I could get a reliable media operative to conform what the media carried. I called Denis Chabrol to ask him to confirm parts of what I see by asking him to read that section from the ERC report.
It concerns a question put to Patterson about his relationship with Persaud since Patterson had made very strong negative statements about the character of Vishu Persaud, the then deputy Chief Elections Officer. Patterson in his remarks about Persaud referred to him as being shifty, dishonest about his qualification among other indictments. Patterson then told the ERC that these conclusions were based on documents he read. He used the words “paper trail.”
Patterson when asked about his interaction or relation with or knowledge of Persaud, said he never met the gentleman. That is not the disturbing dimension of Patterson’s position. In fact, it is quite normal to reach conclusions about persons you have never met. But context is everything in life. In the context that Patterson could determine employment for an applicant (which in fact he did by a casting vote), it is obligatory on him to go beyond reading what he saw and assess carefully the various angles of what he read and who wrote what.
Since Patterson did not work with Persaud and since he said there is a paper trail that indicts Persaud then the obvious question is who wrote what? There are six commissioners and a chairman. We don’t know before Patterson took up his job who among the commissioners wrote swell things and negative notes about Persaud.
But the chairman who worked a long time with Persaud, Dr. Surujbally, spoke to the investigating team and offered an invitingly positive evaluation of Persaud and praised his integrity, the very integrity that according to Patterson he, Patterson, had reason to doubt Persaud possessed.
The question this country must demand of James Patterson is what did he read in that paper trail? He must produce it.
According to the ERC report, he agreed to submit the “paper trail” but did not.
Finally – number 5. The ERC concluded that Persaud was the better qualified candidate over Myers. But he didn’t get the job. Shouldn’t GECOM explain?
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