President David Granger is Wednesday expected to dispatch his reasons to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo for deeming his list of nominees for the post of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman “unacceptable.”
“He will get the letter today. As I said it is essentially a constitutional matter. The matter is dealt with clearly in the constitution. I myself did not feel that there was anything that was obscure or unclear,” the President told reporters. He has asked Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs to examine the Opposition Leader’s letter to “see if anything I might have written was obscure.”
At the same time, Granger appeared unwilling to accede to Jagdeo’s request for a face-to-face meeting to iron out differences over the acceptability of the list of nominees. “I don’t think he wants with me. He wants clarification,” he said. When told that Jagdeo has said he wanted to meet with him, the President insisted: “I don’t think he wants to meet with me. He wants the matter clarified and I will provide that clarification.”
Asked at what stage, he would decide that the process has been exhausted and that he would name someone as GECOM Chairman in his own deliberate judgment, the Guyanese leader said he and the Opposition Leader are required to hold consultations. “I am obliged to consultations with him (Jagdeo) and I intend to do that. I wouldn’t make any choice until after the consultation is completed,” he said.
The President stated that he has no objections to meeting with the Opposition Leader.
The President said he was patient and in no hurry to name a Chairman of the seven-member commission that overseas Guyana’s elections management authority. “I am a man of great patience. I mean this is a constitutional matter. It is important to Guyana so I am not rushing and I don’t want to bring the process to an end without both sides being satisfied and the public too,” he said.
Asked whether he preferred to name former female judge as the next GECOM Chairman, the President said he had no prejudices or preconditions. “I am waiting on the process to work but what I expected in the first instance is that the list would have been sufficiently balanced to allow me to make that choice. I don’t have any name at the back of my mind or the front of my mind,” he said.
Opposition Leader Jagdeo has submitted the names of Governance and Conflict Resolution Specialist, Lawrence Lachmansingh; Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram; Retired Major General, Norman Mc Lean; Business Executive, Ramesh Dookhoo; businesswoman and Indian Rights Activist, Rhyaan Shah and History Professor, James Rose.
The President has said that, in keeping with his interpretation of Guyana’s Constitution, the GECOM Chairman should be a judge, retired judge or someone eligible to be appointed a judge. The Constitution also provides for a fit and proper person to be appointed from among a list of six names.