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Amend constitution to allow foreigners to be nominated for GECOM Chairmanship- Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo addressing a PPP public meeting at Robert’s Square, Enmore, East Coast Demerara.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo Wednesday night said he has floated to President David Granger the idea of amending Guyana’s constitution to allow for foreign nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

In response to Granger’s call for the GECOM nominee to be someone with deep knowledge in electoral matters and especially people who are not political- “it’s almost impossible to meet that condition”- Jagdeo said he suggested that the pool could be broadened by amending the constitution to select non-Guyanese.

“Why not let us jointly amend that part of the Constitution … that we can submit now, we can search around the world so my list now can show people from around the world, some of the best people from around the world, so that is one of my suggestions and we will explore that” he told a public meeting of about 600 persons in his opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) stronghold of Enmore, East Coast Demerara.

The President and the Opposition Leader on Monday, June 12, 2017 agreed to establish a high-level team if Jagdeo’s third list of nominees, whenever it is submitted, is rejected. The High Court will on June 16 continue hearing arguments concerning a city businessman’s request for an interpretation of the constitution on the appointment of a GECOM Chairman.

A section of the attendees at a PPP Public Meeting held at Robert’s Square, Enmore, East Coast Demerara.

Jagdeo said he, however, dismissed Granger’s counter suggestion that a search committee be established to search for six acceptable nominees, saying that would violate the Constitution that merely allows the President to pick one of the nominees to head the seven-member body.

“The President said that why not establish a search committee and I said Mr President you have zealosuly guarded your rights under the Constitution- the right to choose in an unfettered manner – so if I agree to a search party, you will be part of selecting my nominees too so you would help me to submit and you will choose too so that will violate the entire spirit of the Constitution so I could not agree with that,” Jagdeo recalled.

 

The Opposition Leader said he reminded the President that he has rejected the additional features of integrity, impartiality and independence including not being an activist for any organisation or even remotely associated with a political party.

Jagdeo reported to party faithful that he has since laid down three conditions- agreement must satisfy the PPP and People’s National Congress Reform because the PPP is not is a junior partner, must be constitutional to preserve the delicate balance of the Carter Centre formula of three commissioners from government and opposition and the Chairperson selected through collaboration and a fair approach.

 

Jagdeo’s two lists of six nominees each have been rejected. Granger had said the first list did not include judges, retired judges or someone eligible to be a judge. Before the second list had been submitted, Granger then added on the other criteria.

On receipt of the second list that had included two retired judges and three attorneys-at-law, the President reiterated that all of the nominees have to be acceptable to him and he had not been presented with a range from which to choose one.

The Opposition Leader told the PPP meeting that he has no choice but to continue submitting lists because if he does not do so that would open the door for the President to unilaterally appoint a Chairperson. He warned again that if the President does so, that decision would be challenged in the Court and there would be street protests. “I have already made it clear that if he seeks to appoint a person of his own choice that that would be unconstitutional, illegal; we’d fight it in the courts and on the streets- all of us together…we have to do that because it is about the future of the country,” said Jagdeo.

The Opposition Leader said he also reminded Granger that the interpretation of the constitutional provision on the appointment of a GECOM Chairman had been settled by the PNC even to the extent that then party leader, Senior Counsel Desmond Hoyte had submitted Granger’s name twice for the top elections management authority post.

Those on the second rejected list 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.

The first rejected list had been made up of 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.

  • cuffy

    Don’t worry someone friend from the Guyana Dunce Federation will get the job. Ex (GDF)

    • Lancelot Brassington

      The high command in the past two and a half decades and even before has contained men and women with Masters degrees and/or Masters level military qualifications. I guess that makes them dunces. We need scholars like Janet Jagan, Bibi Shadick, Edghill, Zulfikar Mustapha, Harry Persaud Nokta, Clinton Collymore, Indra Chanderpal and of course the ultimate scholar Rohee to run the army.

  • JINNAH RAHMAN

    JAGDEO CAN TAKE HIGH GROUND ON GECOM – Mr Jagdeo can take the HIGH GROUND on GECOM, if he were to full SUPPORT the PROPOSAL for the ENTIRE 7 COMMISSIONERS to be PROFESSIONALS and NON-PARTY POLITICAL, as has happened in the MOST DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES in the world.

    The GUYANA HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION IN GUYANA, which has become a PPP- front agency, has set out some very clear ideas, which should get the debate going.

    Mike Mccormick has put forward a brilliant proposal – which is largely DEMOCRATIC and TRANSPARENT. One cannot get a better proposal that will remove all the DOUBTS and MISTRUST of GECOM. I certainly would not entertain the thoughts of a rigged election process.

    If President Granger and Mr Jagdeo are very serious about DEEPENING the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS and building trust and faith in the political and democratic system – then they must involve the entire nation in the quest for an INDEPENDENT GECOM.

    There is a large number of Guyanese, who belong to other political parties and political and social movements that do not have representatives on the GECOM structure and that is highly UNFAIR and UNDEMOCRATIC. The structure must change.

    We have to do everything to widen our DEMOCRATIC base involving every section of society and empowering the most disadvantaged – women and youths in the national building process.

    The President has shown that he is serious about taken the country forward by setting up a special Ministry to deal with social cohesion. He has set up other allied structures and instruments of mobilization to achieve these goals. Some of these institutions are not functioning to meet those goals set by the President.

    Part of the democratizing process is to deal with the question of LAW AND ORDER. There are many violations and the Law enforcement bodies are not doing their work to the maximum.

    In this regard, Mr Jagdeo has a key role to play in ensuring- that as Opposition Leader – he supports the LAW AND ORDER agenda of this government and openly and frankly criticise people in his own grouping, who have broken the laws in the past and continue to do so, as I write. The NATIONAL CAMPAIGN of BOYCOTT AND SABOTAGE must stop – since they are detrimental to their own supporters.

    Jagdeo talks about amending the CONSTITUTION of Guyana, which is a progressive step, but he must go further and propose FUNDAMENTAL changes to to allow for the full participation of all our people – with diverse views and opinion – meaningfully representing the minority views at the highest level of the country – the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. Currently, the smaller parties – the AFC, WPA, GAP, and JUSTICE FOR ALL are not represented on GECOM.

    To cater for broader representation- we have got to allow parties that participate in any elections – national or local – to join with other political groups to form a government of their making.

    Electoral REFORM is the single most important amend that needs to happen. If Mr. Jagdeo is very serious about the involvement of our people – then he will get behind those who are responsible for the CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM agenda, Mr. Nagamootoo, and push it to the limits.

    Guyanese have lost respect for POLITICIANS – because they only talk and talk is cheap. People need men and women with character – no say one thing now and the next minute say something completely different. People need swift action.

  • Fedup / GT

    AMEND THE CONSTITUTION SO THAT JAGDEO COULD GO TO JAIL

  • Second Coming

    Why should anyone believe Jagdeo when it comes to amending the Constitution? He signed the last amendment to allow for a presidential two-term limit. Then he said he had no interest in a third term. Yet he is now Opposition Leader and PPP Leader, poised for a 2020 run, denying others in the party a chance to rise and shine.
    Rather than amend the Constitution to leave anything to the President and Opposition Leader, how about a whole new Constitution that empowers the people instead of politicians?

  • GUYANA THE HELLHOLE !

    amend d constitution 2 disallow a 3rd term for any president