Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has presented to President David Granger an additional six names from which to consider filling the post of chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The Opposition Leader has expressed hope that this list of names he has submitted to the Head of State represents the final time he would have to engage in this exercise, and the way would now be cleared to allow for the soon appointment of a chairman of the Elections Commission.
The Opposition Leader has also said he is hopeful that the President would take into consideration the ruling of the acting Chief Justice (CJ) in regard to the constitutional stipulation governing the appointment of a chairman for the GECOM.
This list of nominees for the GECOM Chairmanship includes Major General (retired) Joseph ‘Joe’ Singh; Teni Housty; Sanjeev Datadin; Annette Arjune-Martins; Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.
In the letter to the President accompanying the list, Jagdeo said arriving at the six names was not an easy task. He said that regarding the antecedents in relation to the matter and a subsequent meeting with the President at State House back in June, he continued elaborate and protracted consultations with various stakeholders in an exercise that lasted for several weeks.
During that process, he said, he solicited their views and sought nominations in efforts to ensure that six names were presented to the President that satisfy the requirements contemplated by Article 161(2) of the Constitution
Regarding the nominees, Jagdeo explained that one is a former chairman of GECOM, while two are attorneys-at-law with over 10 years of “good standing” at the Guyana Bar, and both are qualified to be appointed as judges of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in Guyana.
Another of the nominees, he explained, is an attorney-at-law with over 40 years of good standing, and is a former magistrate who served in that capacity for over 20 years; another nominee is a business executive in the local airline industry, and has received national and international acclaim for her work in protecting Guyana’s biodiversity; while the other person has distinguished himself as an agriculturalist, and has made a sterling contribution in Guyana and the Caribbean in the area of Education and Religion.
At a press conference on Friday, Jagdeo lamented the absence of a chairman at the helm of the Elections Commission, particularly since the country has to begin preparations for first the Local government elections next year.
“I believe that the absence of a chairman of the commission is an untenable position. The work there in GEOCM is totally stalled. They are on remote, on automatic mode, and many of the pressing issues that have to be resolved, not only for local Government elections, but national elections coming in a short period, those issues cannot be addressed”, Jagdeo stated.