Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s announcement of a campaign of non-cooperation with government, following President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Retired James Patterson as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is not expected to hurt at least two of the administrative regions that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) controls.
Officials of Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice) and and Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) vowed to continue to work with the interest of the people they were elected to serve.
Region Six Chairman, David Armagon, in an interview with Demerara Waves Online News , said that although he and other councillors will continue to serve the people, they will boycott all events where A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) officials are in attendance.
“The President’s decision to unilaterally appoint an 84-year-old man to serve as the chairman of GECOM has really provoked the tolerance of Guyanese people. He’s playing with 25 years of convention because we all know that every president has accepted a name from a list submitted from the Leader of the Opposition and in this case, three lists were submitted and yet this was done”.
According to Armagon, the move by President Granger was ‘unconstitutional’ and questioned why of the names submitted, none were deemed ‘fit and proper’ to head GECOM.
He further noted that the action has already seen grave results with two nominees already distancing themselves from the Granger-led administration. “We have already seen what this is doing to the people of Guyana. We have organizations coming out pleading with government to rescind the decision and we are waiting and hoping that good sense will prevail”,” he added.
Chairman of Region Five, Vick Ramphal declined to comment on the raging controversy, but Regional Vice Chairman, Mr. Rion Peters briefly stated that “will not support any act meant to divide the or cause hardships for the people in the region.”
Peters stressed that although the call was made by the Opposition Leader, he opined it was not meant to bring hardships and mistreatment to the people.
“I do not think that the PPP would make such a decision that will gravely affect the people but we will continue to work towards helping the people no matter what decision is taken because we were elected to serve them and that’s what we will do”,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Regional Executive Officer of Region Five, Mr. Ovid Morrison said Jagdeo’s campaign of non-cooperation was of no surprise to him. He noted that systems were long before put into place from his office to ensure that such decisions do not affect the people.
“The call for none cooperation was not surprising to me or to anyone in fact and that is why I had put measures into place to ensure that the needs of the people were looked after from my office so whatever decision is taken, it will not affect progress in the region nor will it affect the people”, he said.
The Region Five administration has for months now been locked in a controversial demand by Morrison for the Regional Chairman to apologise to him over an investigation into the alleged misuse of heavy duty machinery.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo only recently called on the two sides to put their political differences aside so that progress could continue in that agriculture-driven region.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan has long said that government was obliged to exercise its executive authority through the Regional Executive Officers to ensure its policies and programmes are executed.
The People’s Progressive Party, through its Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha, has asked the High Court to quash Justice Patterson’s appointment as GECOM Chairman on several grounds.