Internet Radio

Govt tightens conditions for GECOM Chairmanship

Attorney General Basil Williams

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams on Tuesday signaled that  the determination of a “fit and proper person” to become the next Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is a non-negotiable that only President David Granger alone can determine, and that all six nominees must be acceptable to the Guyanese leader.

The Guyana government made known its position hours after Granger received a letter from Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo requesting an urgent meeting to reconcile any differences of opinion over the qualifications necessary for someone to become a GECOM chair.  Jagdeo did not accede to Granger’s request for a second list of persons not unacceptable to him (the President).

The Ministry of the Presidency acknowledged that Guyana’s Constitution does allow for “any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons…” identified after meaningful consultation.

According to the Attorney General this places the determination of what is ‘fit and proper’ at the discretion of the Head of State and that every person submitted on the list presented by the Leader of the Opposition should meet that requirement.

“All six persons are required to be acceptable to the President. Therefore, if you bring in three of those persons, [who] are not in the range, you are actually reducing the options of the President. So it is beholden on the Leader of the Opposition to always provide a list of six acceptable persons or as they say six persons not unacceptable to the President. He is the decision maker. The President is doing nothing wrong.

In fact he has invited the Leader of the Opposition to send another list and he can do that several times until the Leader of the Opposition gets it right and he has to get it right, failing which the President will be forced to make an appointment. Of course at all material times he acts in his own deliberate judgement. So it’s entirely the President’s judgement,” the Attorney General was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency.

Among Jagdeo’s six nominees are pro-People’s Progressive Party (PPP) History Professor, James Rose and Indian Rights Activist, Rhyaan Shah.  Business Executive, Ramesh Dookhoo is regarded in some circles as sympathetic to the PPP-led administration especially under Jagdeo. The other nominees are Retired Major General, Norman Mc Lean, Attorney and Political Analyst, Mr. Christopher Ram and Conflict Resolution and Governance Consultant, Mr. Lawrence Lachmansingh.

The Ministry of the Presidency said the Head of State indicated that he will respond to the contents of Jagdeo’s letter in due course. The President has already deemed the list of six nominees acceptable, saying that none of them includes a serving judge or someone eligible to hold that post in Guyana or the Commonwealth.

Expanding on the legal qualifications set out by the Constitution, where Article 161 (2) on four occasions refers to judge level qualifications”, Minister Williams said that the President believes that the Constitution should be followed thoroughly in the selection of a Chairman for such an important post and if the need arises for several lists to be submitted by the Leader of the Opposition in keeping with the law, then this should be done.

The Constitution further states, vesting ultimate responsibility in the Head of State to ensure a properly qualified person fills the post, that “Provided that if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list as provided for, the President shall appoint a person who holds or has held office as a Judge of a Court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a Court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such Court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge.”

The Attorney General said, “It is entirely at the discretion of the President. The Constitution gives him that power to determine, who is a fit and proper person. The Leader of the Opposition ab initio (in the beginning) really has to address his mind to what the Constitution requires.”

President Granger subsequently requested that the curricula vitae of the nominees be provided to him and upon careful examination of same, concluded that the Opposition Leader’s list is not in keeping with Article 161 (2), beyond the fact that it provides six names.

  • rs dasai

    Nice, nice. ‘the President is doing nothing wrong’, but is he doing anything right?

    • long_legs

      yes, “he is doing everything right” by standing his ground, follow the constitution and not be railroaded by jagdeo and the floundering ppp party into accepting six names on a list just because it came from the opposition!

      the ppp protested and harangued dr surujballi until the poor man gave up and retired the chairmanship and here they are playing the big bad bully again wanting to strong arm the president into picking a nominee from a wishy-washy list.

      the news for all of you is; no judges or anyone fit to be judge, no list with persons acceptable by the president, then; the president will resort to his prerogative as the highest elected official of the land and pick a person he deems fit for the position.


      • rs dasai

        Deem fit does not make one ‘fit’.

  • Madman

    This is going beyond ridiculous now. Granger, Harmon and Williams spells trouble for this country.

  • rudeo

    stop the charade…..toss the carter formula in the thrash can…..soldier boy must go ahead and rule his kingdom as he sees fit…..modern day saul

  • Lance Vance

    ganga want’s to appoint one of his cronies from the pnc,so the rigging of election & the fri^^ing of guyana can continue banam style.

  • Guy Champion

    The PPP can’t even follow the law once!? They sent a list of bias stuages, n non of them has judge level qualification…Those under hand tactics wouldn’t work.

  • Celebrate50+RacismBackwardness

    ab initio moustachio willie is d worst ag ever
    grainjah is just going through d motions to frustruate baRAT
    – like trump did to romney and guilliane
    he has already made up his mind who it will be – some legally trained gdf ole hack

  • Gtloyal

    What happens when a list, rejected with five unacceptable persons but with one good – let’s say, excellent – candidate is followed by lists with six acceptable candidates but none as suitable as the candidate from the first list? Can the president go back to list #1 and choose the excellent candidate? No? Then something is bloody well wrong somewhere.
    As knavish as all this may seem, don’t blame the president for what is going on, he is within his mandate. Read your constitution.

  • Kassem_B

    ‘Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams on Tuesday signaled that the determination of a “fit and proper person” to become the next Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is a non-negotiable that only President David Granger alone can determine, and that all six nominees must be acceptable to the Guyanese leader.’
    No appointment
    No Chairman-Can’t have any meeting, no up to date registration
    No elections
    No need for rigging
    The back -up scenario

  • Kassem_B

    ‘Govt tightens conditions for GECOM Chairmanship’
    Where is the AFC in all this?

  • rs dasai

    No way without some dholl puri.

  • rs dasai

    There is no such thing as a free gift.

    • VictorAustin

      I accept