Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has brushed aside criticisms about the integrity of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) , James Patterson because his Curriculum Vitae (CV) appeared to have conveyed the impression that he had been the substantive rather than the acting Chief Justice of Grenada.
“This question about whether you are acting and you can say that you are ‘that’ or that you have to be confirmed as substantive before you can use the title, I think that is something, in my view is neither here nor there,” Harmon told a post-cabinet news conference.
In Retired Justice James Patterson’s CV that was circulated by the Ministry of the Presidency shortly after he was sworn in my President David Granger last month, it states that he had served as Grenada’s Chief Justice, not that he had been Acting Chief Justice.
The opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) had cited that alleged misrepresentation as one of the reasons why the new GECOM Chairman’s appointment should be scrapped. That party has since moved to the High Court to have that done more on the basis that Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo’s 18 nominees were rejected by President Granger and he went ahead and unilaterally picked Patterson because he was deemed to be “fit and proper”.
State Minister Harmon noted that the past and current Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice have all been acting but that in no way affected their work and competence. “”we have a lot of people here in this country who are acting but we don’t say because they are acting that they are not that,” he said.
For his part, the GECOM Chairman has said that he could not recall how long he had served as Acting Chief Justice.