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President doesn’t have to give reasons for rejecting Jagdeo’s names or abide by own criteria

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

President David Granger does not have to give reasons for rejecting Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo’s 18 nominees because he had no intention of asking him to submit another list.

The Attorney General’s Chambers also said he Guyanese leader does not have to abide by his own criteria which he had set the Opposition Leader.

Amid calls by several private sector and civil society organisations for the Guyanese leader to give reasons for unilaterally appointing Retired Justice James Patterson, the Attorney General’s Chambers referred to a ruling by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire that states that the condition on which the President has to give reasons for rejecting the names already submitted.

“The Leader of the Opposition and others for that matter, may not agree with the reasons given, but they must be given so that the parameters for the submission of another list, if required would be set,” states a section of the High Court ruling. The Attorney General Chambers says “His Excellency understands this to mean that only where he agrees to more than one list reasons must be given.”

The Chambers said Article 161 (2)  of Guyana’s Constitution allows the President to exercise his “discretion” to appoint a GECOM Chairman from the “final list” submitted by the Opposition Leader and that he is further empowered by Article 161 (2) “to act in his own deliberate judgement when exercising such discretion.”

The Attorney General’s Chambers  said in the case of Marcel Gaskin vs the Attorney General and others in which the Chief Justice states that the President is not obliged to accept the list or the persons named in it if he believes the list in totality or the names contained are deficient. Further, she states that “If the President considers that one or more persons on the list is not a fit and proper person and therefore unacceptable, then he may decide to reject the entire list as being incomplete or restrictive, or  e may decide to choose one of the persons if they qualify even though every other name on the list is not acceptable. Therefore the whole list need not be rejected.

Against the background of concerns that Justice Patterson is a religious leader in contrast to the President’s criteria that he had given to the Opposition Leader, the Attorney General’s Chambers said it was only after the the names on the final list did not conform to those criteria that the President invoked Article 161(2) which permits the President to act independently to appoint a person of the Judicial category to be the Chairman  of  GECOM, that   is a  person  who is presumptively fit and proper.

“It is in the light of these premises His Excellency appointed the Hon. Justice Patterson as a fit and proper person to the office of GECOM Chairman,” states the Chambers.

For his part on the issue of Patterson being a religious leader, the President said, “I was asked by the Leader of the Opposition to suggest certain criteria which were not necessarily incorporated in the constitution and I proposed certain criteria”.

The President, after rejecting the first list did give the Leader of the Opposition on his request a list of criteria or characteristics that would make listed persons acceptable to him. The criteria are:

a. That person is deemed to have wide electoral knowledge, capable of handling electoral matters because he or she is qualified to exercise unlimited jurisdiction in civil matters,

b.He or she will discharge their functions without fear or favour, that is, they will not allow any person or organisation to bulldoze or influence them to compromise their neutrality,

c.This person will discharge their functions neutrally between the 2 opposing parties as they would have done in Court between 2 opposing litigants,

d.The person will not be an activist in any form (gender, racial, theological, religious etc.),

e.They should not have any political affiliation or belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden, and

f.They should have a general character of honesty, integrity, faithfulness, diligence and fear of God in the discharge of their duty as Chairman.

The PPP, through its Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha, has asked the High Court to quash the appointment of Justice James as GECOM Chairman on several grounds including perceived biases in favour of the People’s National Congress Reform which is led by President Granger, and alleged violation of the constitution in appointing him.

  • Madman

    “The Attorney General’s Chambers also said he Guyanese leader does not
    have to abide by his own criteria which he had set the Opposition
    Leader.”

    So you tell the Opposition Leader that the candidate must be god, thereby making it impossible to find a candidate, then reject the list and say whomever I appoint could be the devil and it’s fine. This makes a mockery of the process.

  • CREAM1968

    THEY ARE PEE ON MY LEG AND TELLING ME ITS RAINING , HEY VILLAGE IDIOT AG , I AM NOT STUPID ,

    • rs dasai

      Cream
      It happens when you are mistaken for a ‘fire hydrant’ and the does believes that he is a ‘dog’.

  • Kassem_B

    ‘President doesn’t have to give reasons for rejecting Jagdeo’s names or abide by own criteria’
    Then what is the purpose of listening to anything the President have to say?
    Is this your Reformed Constitution in practice?

  • Col123

    The AG is correct … they don’t have any reasons whatsoever to reject the submitted lists… so they don’t want to appear as chitheads to give any made up one!

    • rs dasai

      col
      Especially that The President does not have to ‘abide’ by his (Presi’s) criteria.
      So , whose ‘criteria’ is the President using? Harmon’s or Patterson’s?

      • Col123

        My criteria bro…this stuff is more comedy that I can handle…

        • rs dasai

          Well, you have ‘Trumpstir’ to keep you amused.

          • Col123

            You don’t punch when someone is down… is that a loss of two points?

          • rs dasai

            Col.
            Not punching, just hovering over like the great Ali.

          • Col123

            Rope a dope

  • rs dasai

    Editor
    Bad use of words in your headline. try’ President, Leader of the opposition’ or
    Granger & Jagdeo.

  • eddie

    spoken like a real clan business,,, flouting the constitution with no fear of consequence and we have individual like these in office representing the people of Guyana

  • Watching On…

    A dictatorship never is required to give reasons to dictate they just do. So no reasons should be given for anything and citizens should be okay with that?

    • CleveM

      Mr Granger has used loopholes in the constitution to his advantage. Though disappointing to many, IT IS LEGAL.

  • shovid

    BARNUM AND RINGLING IN FULL FORCE IN GUYANA…DO ENJOY THE CAGE OF THE WALKING DEADS,THEY ARE MOST HILARIOUS….!!

  • eddie

    so it ayu time now, no need for a response you can plead the 5th

  • eddie

    that will happen when some is the president of Guyana that is not affiliated to the PPP or PNC

  • eddie

    hey I am not for none of these party or there leader if you remember I predict this will happen and the government will get a free pass because of the PPP leader none of the two party have the citizen best interest at heart for them is who will consolidate power the most

  • eddie

    spot on!!!!!!!!!!!!! and as long as jaggy remain the leader of the PPP this administration get a free pass and the direction that we yearn for goes out the window ,,, do you think it a coincident that the government don’t rattle him too much and always give him the kid glove treatment then trun around and shaft him and that not all they will not go after him or his buddy (textile mill) just to appease him and have him there and shaft the gullible nation… I don’t care who rule Guyana you can be pink, green ,brown or black it about dam time the people of this country be taken care of and we don’t have to run to other country for survival and stop been the laughing stock of the world. we as Guyanese will be revere and happy to see our countrymen and women in another country and be best of friend with conviction and as soon as we land at the airport in GY our mistrust just manifest itself so we as a people need to change that and only then these politician will know they will be held accountable we need to see our self as Guyanese and not by the color of our skin as these politician want us to do