PNC members among President’s nominees for GECOM Chair

first_img…Granger acting in bad faith – PPPIn an unexpected move, President David Granger on Monday submitted eight nominees for chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) through his representatives.Kads KhanKessaundra AlvesKim KyteStanley MooreStanley MingAubrey ArmstrongClaudette La BennettJames PattersonMore surprisingly, some of the nominees on the list have displayed strong political linkages to the People’s National Congress (PNC).Both Opposition and Government officials met on Monday for what the Opposition thought would have been meaningful discussions on the possibility of narrowing candidates to fill the position, from the list of 11 nominees that was submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo as constitutionally mandated in Article 161 (2).Former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and Members of Parliament Anil Nandlall and Juan Edghill led the Opposition’s delegation, while Ministry of the Presidency Director General Joseph Harmon; Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan represented President Granger. To the Opposition team’s surprise, upon arrival at the meeting, they were handed a list with the names of eight persons, including unconstitutionally-appointed former GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson. Other persons on the list were Dr Aubrey Armstrong; Retired Justice Stanley Moore; Retired Justice Claudette La Bennet; Georgetown Public Hospital Chairperon Kessaundra Alves; former Solicitor General Kim Kyte and PNC Executives Stanley Ming and Kads Khan.DisappointedAfter the engagement, Opposition representatives voiced their disappointment and dissatisfaction with the proceedings. Nandlall reiterated that the CCJ’s conclusion on fostering “good faith” was violated by Government’s actions to formally submit its own nominees.“These names were supposed to be floated in a fluid way so that the Leader of the Opposition would, in turn, take those names and once agreement is arrived in relation to them, put them along with the list of his constituting six and returning them to the President,” he explained.Paragraph 26 of the CCJ’s recommendation prescribes that “the most sensible approach is that before a list is submitted, the Leader of the Opposition and the President must communicate with each other in good faith on, or perhaps meet to discuss, eligible candidates for the position of Chairman. The aim of these discussions must be to agree the names of six persons who fit the stated eligibility requirements and who are not unacceptable to the President.”According to him, it was their understanding that the 11 names would be deliberated on during the meeting to constrict the list to six persons. While there were signals that the President could make informal suggestions, the eight names were imposed to be deliberated upon. Moreover, the Government’s representatives expressed that they were given “no instruction” on Jagdeo’s list, even though the July 4 meeting with the President laid out these matters.“It was our clear understanding that we were going there this afternoon to consider those 11 names and for the Government to indicate or rather the President’s delegates at that engagement to tell us which of the 11 names the President finds acceptable and which he does not find acceptable. Lo and behold, when we get there, we are confronted with a list from the Government’s side and the members of the President’s team inform us that they have no instruction in relation to the 11 names,” the Attorney-at-Law stressed.Violates good faithHe posited, “That, we believe violates the good faith which is intended for this process to succeed. The President told us very clearly that he would like this process to be completed in a matter of days and we welcome that commitment. Here it is at our very first meeting, the President’s delegation has no instruction in relation to the 11 names that he invited us to submit for his consideration, but puts to us, eight names of his own. That does not augur well for the continuation of the process.”The former Attorney General insisted that if progress was not made on the 11 names in future meetings, they would be convinced that the process was not being “constructively pursued”.Meanwhile, he pointed to the selections made by the President, noting that some were perceptibly politically affiliated. This contradicted the Head of State’s recommendations to Jagdeo to select persons with judgelike and impartial qualities, beyond the political scope.“We don’t wish to cast any aspersions on the names submitted, but the names have been revealed. Look at those names and you will see among those names, persons who are highly politically connected to the Government. Now, the President even before the ruling of the CCJ, had articulated certain qualities that he would like to see in the nominees submitted by the Leader of the Opposition,” Nandlall stated.He added, “He said that they must have judgelike qualities and he expounded that to mean that they must be persons who are impartial, who have integrity, who are above the political fray, etc. If that’s the President’s position and he wants the Leader of the Opposition to submit names bearing those qualifications, then one would expect him to reciprocate and put names of the same calibre and pedigree.”These persons selected by the Opposition were once rejected by the President, who then unilaterally appointed Justice Patterson as the GECOM Chairman, a move which was flawed. As such, the Opposition’s former Chief Whip signalled that the President might be making that blunder again. Other questions were raised as to whether this list was an indirect rejection of the Opposition Leader’s choices.The Constitution states that the Leader of the Opposition was solely responsible for sourcing six nominees for the position of GECOM Chairman who should be acceptable to the President.Teixeira expressed, “For the President now to be imposing in a sense eight names and not allowing us to go through the 11, these are not good indications that the Government is serious about moving forward.”She, nevertheless, said that both sides would meet again today, and the 11 nominees would have to be addressed foremost. After that, other choices will be considered or the Opposition Leader will submit more names if necessary.last_img

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