A possible decision tomorrow by President David Granger on a new chair for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) appears to be fast slipping away.
On Friday, President David Granger, in an address to the nation, following a number of orders by the Caribbean Court of Justice on the December 21no-confidence motion, disclosed that a new chair could be selected by tomorrow, once the Opposition acts in consensual manner.
Stressing that credible elections are essential to representative democracy, the Head of State also pointed out that the credibility of the elections is dependent, in part, on the integrity of the Official List of Electors.
“I maintain that a contaminated list can vitiate the credibility of elections.”
Granger expressed his unhappiness with the current negotiation process between Government and the Opposition to hammer out a number of acceptable nominees.
“Guyanese, I met the Leader of the Opposition on 4th July in good faith. We discussed the process by which the nomination of persons would be submitted to me for the post of GECOM Chairman. Representatives of both the Government and the Opposition have met three times this week.
“However, that good faith has not been reciprocated by the Leader of the Opposition. It was my hope that the two sides would have been able to “hammer out” the list of six nominees in accordance with the CCJ guidelines.”
Granger stressed that it is unfortunate that despite the meetings between the two sides, the Leader of the Opposition “rejected” the idea of acting in a consensual manner.
“He chose to put forward candidates for the post who have been rejected previously.
Guyanese, it is clear that elections have to be held in the shortest possible time and, therefore, it is crucial to appoint a chairman of the Elections Commission. This could be done as early as Monday if the Opposition is prepared to act in a consensual manner and in good faith.”
According to Government officials, yesterday, the President has been written to by the Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on a possible meeting over the weekend.
However, up to late yesterday, there were no disclosures that a decision was taken by the president to meet.
The Parliamentary Chief Whip of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Gail Teixeira, in her letter to Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, on Friday, said that they have taken note by the President that the appointment of the chair “could be done as early as Monday.”
“I, therefore, wish to convey to you and His Excellency the President, the Leader of the Opposition’s availability to meet with the President at any time, and throughout the weekend of July 13-14 as required, to work on a list of names for consideration for appointment to the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission in accordance with the constitution.”
The appointment would be key as the President has indicated that he is awaiting advice from the new chairman to announce a date for elections.
The last chairman, Justice (ret’d) James Patterson, resigned recently in keeping with a ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice that his selection process in 2017 by President Granger was flawed.
Granger had rejected 18 names submitted by Jagdeo and after an agreement was not reached, unilaterally named Patterson as chairman of GECOM.
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