President David Granger on Thursday indicated that Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo’s latest list of nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) could be discussed at next week’s Cabinet meeting.
The list was submitted on Friday, August 25, 2017 to the Guyanese leader, but he said he has acknowledged receipt of the list and he was studying the names ” very critically” and would be receiving advice.
“I don’t take these decisions without advice and I will discuss these matters with my colleagues. It certainly won’t be before next Cabinet which will be held on Tuesday,” Granger told reporters.
Contrary to the President’s long-held rigid position that constitutionally, the person must be preferably a judge, retired judge or someone eligible to be a judge; the High Court has ruled otherwise and has given equal weight to those categories of persons as well as any other fit and proper person. Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire has said the GECOM Chairman must have judge-like qualities and possess integrity, honesty and impartiality.
At the request of businessman, Marcel Gaskin, the High Court has also ruled that all of the persons on the list do not have to be acceptable to the President but at the same time he has the right to reject the entire list.
Jagdeo’s nominees include former GECOM Chairman, Retired Major General Joseph Singh; Attorney-at-Law, Teni Housty; Attorney-at-Law, Sanjeev Datadin; Aviator and businesswoman Annette Arjoon-Martins; Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, Onesi La Fleur and former magistrate Krishnadatt Persaud.
Despite the constitutional interpretation by the High Court, the President is on record as saying that the Chief Justice has given her interpretation based on her perception of the law and he would continue to act in accordance with his perception of the Constitution by appointing someone who is fit and proper.
Two other list of six names each have already been discarded by the President.
The first rejected list had been made up 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; Indian Rights Activist, Rhyaan Shah and History Professor, James Rose.
Those on the second rejected list are Retired Justice of Appeal B.S Roy, Retired Justice William Ramlall; Attorney-at-law and a former Magistrate, Ms. Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorney-at-Law, Kashir Khan; Attorney-at-law, Nadia Sagar and businessman, Gerald Gouveia. The President has said that he has rejected the second list because he was not presented with a range of persons from which to choose one.