…as utterances of Govt reps leave more questions than answers
…Opposition seeks clarity on Govt’s contradictory statements
Ahead of the next meeting on Friday between representatives from the People’s Progressive Party and the ruling coalition, the Opposition has dispatched a letter to the Government seeking clarity on a number of issues.
In the letter, written by PPP member Gail Teixeira and addressed to Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, the Opposition sought clarity on what the Government meant when it said two names from the list submitted by the Opposition Leader were being actively considered.
The Party recalled that at Tuesday’s meeting with the President’s representatives, its representatives were informed that four of the names on Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s list of 11 nominees were labelled as: “no objection”, “tending towards acceptability” and “short listed”.
“You would recall that our specific enquiry of whether these four names are “not unacceptable” to the President was answered in the negative. In the circumstances, we now enquire of the meaning and purport of the terms “no objection”, “tending towards acceptability” and “short-listed”. We further and specifically enquire, hereof, whether these names are “not unacceptable” to the President.”
The letter added that the Party was also informed that another two of the names submitted were singled out as being “pending/under active consideration”. “In the circumstances, we now enquire of the meaning and purport of these terminologies; before whom are these names pending, under whose consideration are they active, the President or his representatives and are these names “not unacceptable” to the President?”
Teixeira also questioned whether the decision to reject five of these names and the reasons that were proffered, originated from President David Granger, or from his representatives – Harmon, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
“We must emphasise that if the views expressed at the meetings are those of the President’s representatives and not of the President, and, therefore, names “hammered out” at these engagements are still required to obtain the acceptability of the President, then these engagements would have been, largely, futile, if not, perfunctory.
“We agreed to this engagement to effectuate the “good faith” admonitions enunciated by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which must preponderate engagements between the President and the Leader of the Opposition. We, therefore, expect that the President’s representatives will be duly authorised to make commitments at these engagements in their capacity as conduits of the President.”
Teixeira noted that so far, the engagements of her and her team – comprising other PPP parliamentarians Juan Edghill and Anil Nandlall – with the Government side have failed to meet these expectations.
“We are obliged to inform you that this communication and any response received hereto will be disclosed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) before the 12th July 2019, so we shall appreciate a response by tomorrow, 11th July 2019, at 12 noon.”
The Party also noted that the Government’s response “may determine whether this engagement will continue or whether, we will revert to the Leader of the Opposition and the President engaging, personally, as mandated by Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.”
Since the CCJ ruled that former GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice James Patterson was appointed unconstitutionally, he has resigned. As such, Jagdeo and Granger have been trying to find a replacement to carry out the necessary early elections. In keeping with this, Jagdeo submitted a list of 11 nominees gleaned from the lists he submitted in 2017, before Patterson’s unilateral appointment.
Jagdeo’s list comprises Retired Major General Joe Singh, who served as GECOM Chairman years ago; environmentalist Annette Arjoon-Martins, Retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy, businessman Captain Gerry Gouveia, Attorney-at-Law Kashir Khan, former Magistrate Krishnadatt Persaud, conflict resolution specialist Lawrence Latchmansingh; Retired Major General Norman McLean, businessman Ramesh Dookhoo, Retired Puisne Judge William Ramlall and Onesi La Fleur.
On the other hand, President Granger’s informal list comprises Retired Justices James Patterson, Claudette La Bennett, and Stanley Moore as well as economist Aubrey Armstrong, Attorney Kesaundra Alves and former Solicitor General Kim Kyte. The President also proposed known People’s National Congress (PNC) affiliates Stanley Ming (a former PNC parliamentarian) and Kads Khan.
The two sides are scheduled to meet again today, one day before the CCJ will hand down consequential orders on this matter and the No-Confidence Motion cases.