President David Granger’s disclosure that he has been a member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) for about 52 years was Wednesday sharply criticised because he had agreed to be a nominee for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission but now says the office-holder should not be politically aligned.
Four days after Granger told the 5th Conference of the PNCR’s North American Region that he has been a party member for more than five decades, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday slammed the PNCR leader for spouting double standards.
“Just imagine the hypocrisy of our President. God-fearing! He wrote me and said nobody should be a member of a political party, none of the nominees. None were members of the PPP and he, himself, was a member of the PNC when his name was submitted twice Mr Hoyte and he didn’t object to that. Isn’t that not just hypocrisy?,” Jagdeo told a news conference.
The PPP has been raising concerns about the political allegiance of Retired Justice James Patterson who Granger unilaterally appointed as GECOM Chairman, saying that he was part of a group of PNCR inner-circle pallbearers for Hoyte’s body. Patterson, said to be member of a PNCR Facebook Group, has also been the subject of criticism by the PPP.
In March 2017, at the request of the Opposition Leader, the President provide the characteristics of a constitutionally “fit and proper person” to be nominated for the GECOM Chairmanship.
“That person will not be an activist in any form (gender, racial, religious etc)” and “that person should not have any political affiliation or should not belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden,” Granger told Jagdeo in a letter dated March 14, 2017. Patterson has, however, said he is apolitical.
The PPP, through its Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha, has since challenged Justice Patterson’s appointment on several grounds including the fact that the Opposition Leader had nominated 18 persons all of whom have since been rejected by the President as not acceptable.