Retired Justice James Patterson might be returned as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), if the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules that President David Granger should have given reasons for rejecting Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s 18 nominees, Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan says.
“If the Court rules that the President has to give reasons, the President will give his reasons. If the President sees somebody good there that he wants, then he could appoint that person but if he doesn’t find them acceptable, he could name back the same Patterson,” Ramjattan stated on Dave TV Channel 8 in New Amsterdam.
He said if the Trinidad-headquartered regional appeal court rules against the President, all the Guyanese leader has to do is reject all of Jagdeo’s nominees, give reasons and reappoint Patterson. The AFC Chairman said it was not for the local or Caribbean judges to determine who must be the GECOM Chairman.
“For all you know, Jagdeo can send in the six names, then the President could give six reasons why it is not and then he could appoint Patterson back again so I don’t know where that will take Jagdeo, where he got his legal advice from,” said the seasoned civil and criminal lawyer.
Patterson’s October 2017 appointment is being challenged all the way up to the CCJ through Executive Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Zulfikar Mustapha.
The regional court last week heard arguments by lawyers for the PPP and the government, as the judges prepare to deliver their decisions on that case and another challenging the constitutionality of the vote in favour of a no-confidence motion that might result in early general elections if the judges rule the motion was passed.
Ramjattan, who is also Guyana’s Minister of Public Security, said the President has decided against publicly giving reasons for rejecting the names which could be political, security and intelligence.
The PPP has publicly questioned whether Patterson is politically-aligned to Granger’s People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the major party in the ruling A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change coalition.