Govt still mum on clarity of Opposition list of nominees
GECOM Chair selection
At end of the third day of talks between the Government and Opposition representatives on nominees for the new Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) still could not get clarity on whether its reduced list of five names are acceptable by President David Granger.
PPP Executive Member and former Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, who is leading the team on behalf of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had written her government counterpart, Joseph Harmon, the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, seeking clarity on a number of issues including what it meant by “shortlisting”, among other terms used.
According to Teixeira, while the Opposition has accepted the rejection of six names from a pool of 11 nominees, they are still not sure whether those five “shortlisted” are acceptable to the president or not.
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall stated that there was no decision made at that engagement, whereby 13 names were agreed upon for consideration by the President and the Leader of the Opposition.
“We attended today’s (Thursday’s) meeting with the hope of securing this crucial clarification and we sought same at the very commencement of the meeting. Without giving us a clear and definitive assurance that the names “shortlisted” are “not unacceptable” to the President, the President’s delegation proceeded to add another name to those already “shortlisted”. Notwithstanding, we continue to clamour for that crucial clarification, but in vain. Instead, the President’s delegation begun to bizarrely demand that we begin to “hammer out” the eight (8) names suggested by the President”, Nandlall later explained.
Nandlall further pointed out that the eight names having emanated from the President, must be taken to be “not unacceptable” to the President and that Article 161 (2), as interpreted by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), requires the “hammering out” of names submitted by the Opposition Leader in order to identify those which find the “not acceptability” of the President, since the President is not permitted to appoint one of his own choosing.
“It is at this stage that we were met with the shocking disclosure from the President’s delegation that those 8 names do not enjoy the confidence of the President!!! Expectedly, this disclosure revealed to us that continuing the engagement would not yield the desired result. Hence, we decided to abort it and revert to our respective Principals”, he added.
As such, Nandlall highlighted that only five names were “shortlisted” in moving forward and they are none the wiser in relation to the reason for the “shortlisting”.
Meanwhile, earlier on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at his weekly press conference had said that the engagement between the representatives is time-wasting.
Apart from noting that some of the objections raised by the representatives from the government’s side on his 11 nominees are frivolous, Jagdeo added that it appears as though the members of government’s delegation seem to be exercising their own opinions on the Opposition’s nominees and then still have to go to the President for his.
“If this is a time-wasting thing then let’s go back to the Leader of the Opposition meeting directly with the President on this matter. So if he says directly I find this name acceptable or unacceptable then we can discuss that or if he gives a reason (for rejection) then I can say that’s not an objective reason directly to his face rather than go through these representatives because right we don’t know on whose behalf they’re speaking,” the Opposition Leader posited, noting that his representatives is constantly in touch with him and seeking his input during the discussions.
Moreover, Jagdeo went onto accuse the Coalition of putting up a front to mislead the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which will be handing down consequential orders today on the way forward, as part of their tactic to delay the impending elections.
“I had warned right when we came out of the meeting (with the President last week) that we have to watch out during this short period that they may seem like they’re full of cooperation and want to be helpful etc… But once we get pass the consequential order of the court, because the court would feel ‘Oh, there’s a process ongoing so let us not interfere in this’, that thereafter everything slows down consistent with their thrust to delay elections,” the Opposition Leader stated.