Granger’s assertion that Jagdeo’s rejection of his GECOM nominees is a ‘recipe for gridlock’ represents yet another attempt to frustrate Guyana’s progress and undermine the well-being of the populace. Stymieing progress towards fresh elections has been Granger’s modus operandi ever since his government fell on December 21. In fact, he has been the centerpiece of the real gridlock, and acting in bad faith, which he now attempts to put on the shoulders of the Leader of the Opposition. Further, his stalling mechanisms have invoked vexation across the country, and his current gross distortion of the CCJ recommended ‘consensus meeting’ to determine the GECOM Chair stinks of provocation.
To begin, the stench of Granger’s distortion is unbearable. His assertion that he must present names for consideration, in what he referred to as ‘a spirit of compromise’ is blatantly misguided. While the CCJ urged the parties to meet and come up with a consensus candidate, it was not meant to be a meeting for the president to submit a list of names. It could be surmised that in the process of discussions between the Leader of the Opposition and the President several names acceptable to both parties could be suggested and discussed in a cordial way. Granger admitted as much in his press statement of July 4, when he mentioned that ‘while he could make submissions, in the final analysis that submission has to come from the Leader of the Opposition, and the CCJ has not taken away that role from the leader of opposition’.
It should be noted that the CCJ’s function in this particular case was to decide whether any of the parties has breached provisions in the constitution; it was not for it to rewrite or engage in reinterpretation expedition. Quite clearly, the CCJ couldn’t ignore the constitutional provisions since doing so would contravene both the letter and the spirit of the constitution. In the Court’s conclusion, the process of appointing former GECOM Chairman was flawed and therefore must be revisited. In the same vein, submission of a list of names by Granger would be contrary to the letter and spirit of the very provisions.
Clearly, the intention of the framers of the specific 161(2) provision(s) was to avoid/put a check on the president’s power of unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chair. While the CCJ urged ‘moving away from unilateralism towards consensualism’, this should not be construed as giving the President the right to submit names. To such goal as putting a check on presidential power, the Leader of the Opposition would also contribute to a breach of this constitutional provision should he allow the president to submit names to the list. There would be nothing or no one to stop an unconscionable/bullying President from selecting his submission for GECOM Chair.
In a nutshell, the President’s deliberate misrepresentation/reinterpretation of the CCJ’s urging and of course 161(2) of the constitution, begs the question of provocation. He has used a host of mechanisms to stymie early elections despite the carried no-confidence motion of December 21. Granger’s current posture is clear; he is hell-bent on acting in bad faith and stamping his dictatorial authority on this fledgling democracy. The time to end Granger’s ‘cat and mouse game’ and blatant disrespect for the CCJ and our constitution has become overdue. Guyanese, as well as the international community, must condemn and reject the President’s immoral goading.
We must now have early elections in keeping with the 3-months time-limit espoused in the CCJ’s consequential Orders.
(Barrister & Solicitor)
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