Granger to Jagdeo: Send representative to meet Attorney General on GECOM Chairmanship controversy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2017, 19:02 by Denis Chabrol

Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and current Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.

President David Granger on Wednesday asked Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo to send a representative to meet with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams to iron out concerns about the constitutionality of the six nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.

The President suggested to Jagdeo that he picks someone to meet with Basil Williams to clarify the interpretation of Article 16 (2) of Guyana’s Constitution that spells out the requirements for nominees.

“I would like to propose that, in light of your request for a meeting and in order to avoid further misinterpretation or misunderstanding of this important constitutional matter, Mr. Basil Williams, Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General  meet with a person of your choice,” Granger said in a letter dated January 18, 2017 to the Opposition Leader.

That appears to be in contrast to the President’s position earlier Wednesday when he suggested that he would have provided the clarification.

The President said he was confident that such a meeting would provide “both of us with a common interpretation of the Constitution. “This will enable me to avoid further delay and discharge my obligation,” Granger added.

The President has deemed Jagdeo’s list of six nominees “unacceptable” because none of them is a judge, retired judge or eligible to be appointed a judge.

The nominees are Governance and Conflict Resolution Specialist, Lawrence Lachmansingh; Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram; Retired Major General, Joseph Singh; Business Executive, Ramesh Dookhoo; businesswoman and East Indian Rights activist, Rhyaan Shah; History Professor, James Rose.

Opposition Leader Jagdeo has said that if the President goes ahead and appoints a GECOM Chairman unilaterally, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) would mount a legal challenge in the High Court.

Attorney General Williams is already on record as saying that all six nominees must be acceptable to the President from among whom the President would pick one in his own deliberate judgment.

Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan has said the issue could not be challenged in court because there are no rules or standards that dictates how the President should make a political decision.