It destroys the inner workings of the soul to live in Guyana and accept Justice James Patterson continuing as chairperson of GECOM. There are two compelling reasons why Guyana should not have Patterson continue for even a day. One is his outrageous position on the Vishnu Persaud employment imbroglio.
He described Persaud’s character in unflattering terms then voted against his continuation as Deputy Chief Election Officer in favour of the other applicant, Roxanne Myers.
I taught Myers at UG and was instrumental in her securing a teaching spot at UG. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about her as a person or as the Deputy Chief Election Officer, a position she currently possesses.
My column here is about justice that Persaud is entitled to under natural law. Natural law as the Roman thinker, Cicero, told us thousands of years ago, protect slave, slave owner, rich, poor, the cowardly, the courageous, the elite, the ordinary.
Persaud was not given justice, and the GECOM chairman played no small part in that. His resignation should have been demanded immediately after he was exposed for unacceptable conduct.
That conduct took two forms. He never interviewed Persaud so he could not have acquired an insight into his character so how could he have used an unflattering description of the man? It was a portrait that if he wasn’t GECOM chairman, Persaud would have sued him. But he did tell the Ethnic Relations Commission that he judged the character of Persaud from a paper trail he had access to. He agreed to provide the documentation and up to this day, hasn’t.
Patterson’s deportment in the Persaud travesty would have engendered torrid pickets with noisy denunciations of the PPP Government if the cruel violation had occurred when the PPP was in power. There was no volcanic reaction to what Patterson did. There wasn’t even a one-man picket of GECOM offices by Persaud.
Some of us, social activists should have demonstrated in the streets against what Patterson did to Persaud.
The fact that I would have been in the picket line if that had happened during the PPP administration, means I should offer an apology here and now to Vishu Persaud. But my conscience is somewhat unburdened because when I learnt of Patterson’s attitude, I composed a column on the mess.
Patterson used the word, “gonads” in a letter he wrote in the newspapers as an angry reaction to criticism he received from a certain quarter. I hope he has the gonads to explain his role in Persaud’s termination of employment. It is not too late to acquire gonads.
This brings us to the second reason Patterson should go. On Tuesday, Guyana’s final court of appeal ruled that he was not appointed according to the constitution of Guyana. The goodly gentleman and ex-judge (could someone compile a list of his rulings while he was on the bench; it should make for interesting reading) should do the right thing and tender his resignation immediately.
On June 24, lawyers for both sides will be meeting the judges of the CCJ to decide the direction GECOM should go given the unconstitutional position of Patterson. My humble advice to Anil Nandlall is to request the CCJ to accept a return to the Carter-Price formula.
The Opposition Leader submits a list of six, credible names. He meets with the president, a dialogue of assessment takes place and the GECOM chairman should come from that list or another list or even more names. It doesn’t matter how long Granger takes, Patterson must not be the GECOM chairman when elections preparations get underway. Patterson is not neutral.
My pressing suggestion to Nandlall is to clear a pathway for the exit of Patterson. It is my opinion that Granger had Patterson in mind all the time because he wanted a GECOM chairman to favour the PNC positions on GECOM’s decisions. Patterson did not appear to deviate from that course.
Is there any evidence to substantiate this statement? In my opinion the Vishu Persaud scandal is.
Patterson said he has lost confidence in the legal advisor. Why does Patterson think hundreds of thousands of Guyanese haven’t lost confidence in him? But even if Patterson has his quota of admirers (no doubt Granger is one of them), he is holding a position that he is not entitled to. The morally correct thing to do is to resign and let the Carter-Price blueprint take over.
Once again, I say to Vishu Persaud, I am sorry I did not picket for you to have justice.
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