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High Court rules GECOM Chairman’s appointment ‘fit and proper’

Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire on Friday ruled that President David Granger was constitutionally right to appoint Retires Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

She said the President enjoyed the constitutional right to reject the entire list and appoint someone from the judicial category.

In handing down her decision on a case brought by Executive Secretary of the opposition People’s Progressive Party, Zulfikar Mustapha, the Chief Justice dismissed all of the grounds for the challenge.

She awarded costs to the State in the sum of GY$250,000.

Mustapha was represented by a legal team headed by Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall, while the State was represented by Attorney General, Basil Williams; Solicitor General Kim Kyte and Barbadian Queens Counsel, Ralph Thorne and Gollop.

The grounds dismissed were that Patterson was a religious leader in clear violation of criteria set out by President Granger to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo; Justice Patterson was a pall bearer at Peoples National Congress leader, Desmond Hoyte’ s funeral, no reasons were given by the President for rejecting Jagdeo’s three lists of six names each, that Patterson was a member of a pro PNC Facebook page and Justice Patterson lied by staying that he had been Chief Justice of Grenada when in fact he had merely acted in that post.

The Chief Justice noted that then PPP member Khemraj Ramjattan had also been a pallbearer and Mr Jagdeo had spoken at that funeral.

As regards, Justice Patterson’s Facebook connection, the Chief Justice said someone else had added him and there was no evidence that he was active on that Social medium.