Opposition to hold “wide” consultations on nominees for next GECOM Chairman

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 November 2016, 15:48 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said his party would be consulting with civil society on who should be the six nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

“Since I received the letter from the President two days ago, I have initiated a process that will see us consulting widely with civil society beginning next week,” he told a news conference. Those consultations will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now that the Ministry of the Presidency has responded to the Opposition Leader’s Office on whether and when President David Granger intends to kick-start the process to succeed Dr. Steve Surujbally from December 1, the Opposition Leader said he would next week consult with several non-governmental organisations.

Jagdeo hopes to consult with, among others, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Red Thread, Guyana Trades Union Congress as part of the process to arrive at six names for submission to President Granger. He said already the PPP and his office have already received tens of names that have been submitted by individuals. “At the end of the day, we’ll have to narrow down those to six but we will start the consultations with civil society,” he said.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon earlier Thursday said the list should include names that are not unacceptable to the President or the process would have to restart.

The Opposition Leader said the consultations would be held with categories of organisations such as religious organisations and trade unions.

The seven-member GECOM includes a chairman and six members, three each effectively representing the governing and opposition parties.

Surujbally has been GECOM Chairman for the past 15 years.