Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said he was in the process of finalising his third list of nominees for the chairmanship of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which he hopes to submit some time next week. He is hopeful that President David Granger would select one of the names on the list when
“I had committed to submitting a third list publically and with the President, and I believe that I should continue with that process. Clearly, we will have to discuss at some point in time the profound nature of the ruling, but I am hoping that from this third list, that someone would be chosen and then it would become a moot issue,” Jagdeo told the media on Friday.
He said he has made substantive progress on his current list of names and indicated that he was yet to meet with President Granger on the list in question.
“I am getting difficulties; good solid professionals, people who don’t want to be in the political domain…don’t want their names to become political football, they are very reticent about having their names go up and then in the public, people are told that they don’t meet standards of impartiality or independence or they don’t have the skills to manage what is essentially a technical job not a political job,” he said when asked about difficulties he was experiencing to get persons to agree to be on the list.
President Granger has already refused two lists submitted by the Opposition Leader, but Jagdeo is hopeful that an agreement would be met.
“We had identified that should have started already, but there has been no attempt on the part of the Government to trigger that process because the work was supposed to be done simultaneously on discussing the way forward should the current set of names not meet the favour of the President,” Jagdeo added.
Only recently, businessman Marcel Gaskin moved to the court to seek clarity on the constitutional requirement for the appointment of GECOM Chairman and acting Chief Justice Roxane George ruled against President Granger’s interpretation of Guyana’s Constitution for the appointment of a GECOM chairman, saying that there was no preference for judicial persons.
Justice George agreed with lawyers for the Leader of the Opposition, who was named in the court proceedings and the Guyana Bar Association that there was no validity to arguments that the person should be a judge, former judge or person eligible to be a judge rather than merely being any other fit and proper person, and that persons from each category are equally eligible for the post.
The acting Chief Justice said the Opposition Leader could not be fettered to name persons from the first two categories and that the President should give reasons for the grounds of his refusal of nominees.
In response to the ruling, President Granger said that the Chief Justice gave her interpretation of the law and he would continue following his interpretation of the Constitution.
Jagdeo said that he would await the written ruling from the acting Chief Justice before he made any further pronouncement on that matter. He added that at some point it would become imperative that the President and he discuss the ruling.