Retired judges among second batch of GECOM Chairman nominees

Last Updated on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, 17:20 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeon on Friday submitted  to President David Granger a second batch of six nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.

Attorney-at-Law, Nadia Sagar.

They are Retired Justice of Appeal B.S Roy,  Retired Justice William Ramlall;  Attorney-at-law and a former Magistrate, Ms. Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorney-at-Law, Kashir Khan;  Attorney-at-law, Nadia Sagar and businessman, Gerald Gouveia.

He said Retired Judges Desiree Bernard, Claudette Singh, and Attorneys-at-Law, Ralph Ramkarran SC, Timothy Jonas and Ronald Burch-smith have turned down his requests to be nominated.

This second list followed Granger’s deeming the first list “unacceptable” in early January, 2017 because none of them was a judge, retired judge or eligible to be appointed a judge. Granger his rejection of the list was in keeping with his interpretation of Guyana’s Constitution.

Two months later, in March the President announced that a GECOM Chairman must not only be a fit and proper person but must not be an activist or member of any political party. GECOM has been without a Chairman since February 28, 2017 when Dr. Steve Surujbally stepped down after 15 years at the helm

Following is the full text of Opposition Leader Jagdeo’s statement:

Today, I submitted to President David Granger, the names of six (6) persons for the appointment of a Chairman of GECOM, pursuant to the provisions of Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.     The six (6) names are as follows:

  1. Justice of Appeal B.S Roy (ret’d);
  2. Justice William Ramlall (ret’d);
  3. Ms. Oneidge Walrond-Allicock, Attorney-at-law and a former Magistrate;
  4. Mr. Kashir Khan, Attorney-at-law;
  5. Ms. Nadia Sagar, Attorney-at-law;
  6. Mr. Gerald Gouveia.

Having regard to the antecedents in relation to this matter, arriving at these six (6) names was not an easy task. I embarked upon an elaborate and protracted public and private consultative process which lasted several weeks, during which I solicited the views of, and sought nominations from, many nationally renowned persons and various important stakeholders’ and representative organizations, in my efforts to ensure that I present six (6) names to the President who satisfy the requirements contemplated by Article 161(2) of the Constitution.

I take this opportunity to thank all the organisations and persons who participated in this important consultative exercise. In particular, I wish to thank the Hon. Madam Justice Desiree Bernard, Madam Justice Claudette Singh (ret’d) SC, Mr. Ralph Ramcharan SC, Timothy Jonas and Ronald Burchsmith, Attorneys-at-law, and others with whom I consulted but who indicated that their current commitments do not permit them to serve in the office of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, at this point of time.

It will be observed, that in respect of the names which I submitted to the President, one(1) is a former Judge of the Court of Appeal of Guyana; one(1) is a former Judge of the High Court of Guyana; three(3) are Attorneys-at-law with over ten(10) years of good standing at the Guyana Bar and one(1) is a former Magistrate and therefore, qualify to be Judges of a Court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in Guyana, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana; and one(1) is a former Captain of the Guyana Defence Force, a Pilot, and a Businessman and Entrepreneur.