Choosing the Chairman of GECOM

Dear Editor,

I noticed that Dr. Surujbally, in his parting shot, has joined a few minds who feel that the Guyana Constitution seems to proffer a judge to be selected as the Chairman of GECOM. Dr Surujbally posits, and has been quoted as saying, “It tells me that the focus of the framers was in fact to have a judge here.”

The architects of the process include a living President; and his representatives – including Dr. Pastor – are still around, so we do not have to guess what was the meaning of ‘fit and proper’ when it was proposed. We can reach out to Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center for clarity on this matter. The framers of the article in the Constitution are also still alive: Ralph Ramkarran, Raphael Trotman, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, and many of us who participated in the constitution reform process that saw these words entrenched in the Constitution. We don’t have to guess what was intended.

Finally, the players in selecting every Chairman since Rudy Collins are still around. Many members of the PNC/PNCR/PNCR1G are still around. Many members of the WPA, like Rupert, participated in the process and are still around. The WPA nominees for the list in the past were Doodnauth Singh and Steve Surujbally. I am still around, TUF nominees to the list in the past included Edward Hopkinson and Major General (rtd.) Joe Singh. “Fit and proper person” has always referred to any person who was not a judge or qualified to so be. We have been served well by “fit and proper persons” who were not judges or qualified to so be. Rudy Collins, Edward Hopkinson, Major General (rtd.) Joe Singh, and Dr. Steve Surujbally – four out of five have been so chosen.

Steve’s final words should have been, “Thanks to all for the confidence and the honour to serve my country in this most important position in our democratic process.”


Manzoor Nadir