…fresh rounds of consultation to be held
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger have agreed to the submission of a third list of six nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), a joint statement from the Opposition and Government said on Monday.
This decision was made after a second meeting between the two was held on Monday evening at State House.
The meeting was also attended by People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Members of Parliament Anil Nandlall and Irfaan Ali, Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman.
The joint statement said the parties agreed that it would be in the best interest of the people of Guyana that the choice of a Chairperson of GECOM is made without undue delay. However, both parties further agreed that the Opposition Leader will submit a new list of six names to the President.
It was also agreed that a high-level team would be assembled representing the President and the Opposition Leader which will begin to work immediately on exploring modalities to bring a resolution to this matter in the event that the list is rejected again by the President.
Jagdeo has publicly stated total disagreement with the President’s interpretation of Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana which deals with the selection of the chairman of GECOM.
Jagdeo had, last April, submitted to President Granger a second list of six nominees for the post of Chairman of GECOM. They are retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy; retired Justice William Ramlall; former Magistrate Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar; and businessman and pilot, c aptain Gerald Gouveia.
This second list followed President Granger deeming the first list “unacceptable” in early January 2017 — because none of those recommended was a judge, retired judge or eligible to be appointed a judge. Granger’s rejection of the list was in keeping with ‘his interpretation’ of Guyana’s Constitution.
The President subsequently amended his position that a GECOM Chairman must not only be a “fit and proper person”, but must not be an activist or member of any political party. GECOM has been without a Chairman since February 28, 2017, when Dr Steve Surujbally stepped down after 15 years at the helm.