by Gary Eleazar
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, says it is currently premature to confirm or deny if the names being bandied in the media, are in fact the persons he is in talks with, as being considered for submission as nominations for Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Jagdeo made this pronouncement today (April 18, 2017) after returning from leading a Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP) delegation to Region Nine over the weekend and said he will have to resume the consultation process now that he is back on the coast.
“It would be premature to confirm those are names I spoke to or to submit as part of the final group of six.”
According to Jagdeo, “I suspect that within a week or so, I would have completed the consultations,” before transmitting that list to Head of State President David Granger.
The opposition leader confirmed that he currently has a list of seven persons under consideration since one person would have already declined.
He said, the list of names that were submitted by the organization led to a shortlist of eight persons. The state-owned Guyana Chronicle reported last week that the latest batch of nominees included Retired Justices Claudette Singh and B.S. Roy; PPP Member of Parliament and GECOM commissioner, Bibi Shadick; Attorneys Timothy Jonas and Kashir Khan and environmentalist, Annette Arjoon-Martins.
According to the PPP General Secretary, he is still to meet with some of the persons on the list, “already one person said to me no.”
The Opposition Leader told media operatives today while hosting his party’s weekly press conference at its Freedom House headquarters, he did not want to be tied down to a specific timeline since in negotiations some persons would need some time to consider.
He said “if I can go through process by the end of the week, then by Monday,” the names can be submitted to the President, “but I don’t want to say that,…in consulting with people u also have to understand they need time too.”
President David Granger, had rejected the original list of names submitted by the Opposition Leader which led to a second round of consultations in a search for six new nominees by Jagdeo.
President Granger had said Jagdeo’s original list of questions did not confirm to the constitutional requirements.
The list of rejected nominees had included 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.
Veterinarian Dr. Steve Surujbally on February 28, 2017 ended a 15-year stint at the helm of the seven-member commission of three nominees from the government and three from the opposition.
President Granger after rejecting the initial list wrote to the opposition leader requesting a second list.
President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo have been deadlocked since earlier this year when the Guyanese leader deemed the first list of six nominees unacceptable because none of them had included retired, current or judge-eligible persons. Granger, himself, had been nominated by the People’s National Congress Reform in the past for the post of GECOM Chairman.