Jagdeo agrees to meet Granger over rejected GECOM list

… reiterates extra-parliamentary actions if President acts unilaterally

Leader of the Political Opposition, former President and People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, has committed to meeting with Head of State, David Granger on Monday over the brouhaha on the nominees for Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) with a second list rejected again this past week.

Jagdeo made the pronouncement on Thursday as he met with members of the

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

media at his Church Street Office and said despite his disagreement with the President’s decision, the offer to meet must be taken at face value as an attempt at a collaborative approach in solving the imbroglio.

The Opposition Leader was quick to also reject recent speculations published in the public domain purportedly sourced to him as positions adopted in light of the President’s refusal of his nominees.

According to Jagdeo, “I do not conduct negotiations or discussion of a critical nature in the media…Nor will I telegraph my position.”

The Opposition Leader sought to make it clear that the Executive of the PPP/C will be meeting today at which time the matter will be discussed.

The former President prefaced his remarks to the media by openly rejecting the

Head of State, David Granger

interpretation offered by President Granger.

According to Jagdeo, “I totally disagree with the President’s interpretation.”

Granger in his rejection of the list said all of the persons did not meet with the criteria as set out in the Constitution.

Those on the second rejected list by Head of State Granger are retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy; retired Justice William Ramlall;  Attorney and former Magistrate, Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar and businessman, Gerald Gouveia.

Granger, in his rejection letter to Jagdeo on Friday last said, “I have examined the Curriculum Vitae of the six persons in light of the criteria defined in my letter to you dated 2017-03-14… I have found the list to be unacceptable within the meaning of the Constitution and of those criteria.”

The Opposition Leader had met with media operatives earlier in the day and said, “if he (President Granger) moves outside of the list, he will have a fight.”

Retired Judges Desiree Bernard, Claudette Singh, and Attorneys Ralph Ramkarran SC, Timothy Jonas and Ronald Burch-Smith have turned down his requests to be nominated.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo did use the occasion to speculate on what the possible outcome of Monday’s meeting could be.

According to Jagdeo, the President could request a brand new list; a request with which he will have to comply.

He suggested too that the President could also decide to appoint a GECOM Chairman unilaterally and reminded that this course of action will be staunchly resisted.

The PPP General Secretary indicated “our big concerns particularly given signals from the government that they may be a move to unilaterally, unconstitutionally, and unlawfully appoint a Chairman of GECOM.”

He said should the President go this route he will be faced with “litigation and there are other actions that I will not speak about at this point in time.”

According to former President Jagdeo, the PPP/C will be exercising extra-parliamentary and parliamentary actions.

Jagdeo suggested too that President Granger could very well suggest a completely different course of action in resolving the imbroglio – a suggestion that would have to be taken under advisement.

Meanwhile, on the matter of the pending court case filed by a private citizen with a view to secure an interpretation of the constitutional provision for the appointment of the GECOM Chair, the former President said he will not be awaiting the determination of that case.

Jagdeo surmised there is no assurance that the matter will be determined in finality at its next hearing and in fact the matter could very well be appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

He suggested that the matter is of such a nature that it would be imprudent for him to await its conclusion.

GECOM has been without a Chairman since February 28, 2017, when Dr Steve Surujbally stepped down after 15 years at the helm.