By: Sase Singh; MSc – Finance, ACCA
One of America’s most famous Jurists, Antonin Scalia (1936-2016,) wrote in the University of Chicago Law Review that in a democratic system, “the rule of law has a special claim to preference since it is the normal product of that branch of government most responsive to the people”. He meant the Executive. What I gather from that academic journal was that there is no dichotomy between the rule of law and personal discretion. However, it seems from Mr David Granger’s action that he is of the predisposition that he is not a creature of the Constitution, and that he is above the law.
This business of the appointment of a GECOM Chairman confirms this character trait. From all appearances, he operates as if he can do what he wants whenever he wants and however he wants, and still have the audacity to claim the title that “I am a good man”. But good men with high integrity do not operate like this, Mr Granger.
This appointment of an unfit GECOM Chairman in 2017 left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. It was a timely reminder of the actions of two Executive Presidents (Burnham and Hoyte) who abrogated the Constitution to facilitate the theft of elections between 1968 and 1985. Are we on that road again with Mr Granger? The CCJ found that the process was flawed, but yet Mr Granger claims he was following the Constitution, although the evidence is there to prove that the spirit and intent of Article 161 was not being followed.
But, to emboss this illegality, one Mr Ramjattan (then Chairman of the AFC), now proposed Prime Ministerial Candidate for the PNC led Coalition on October 19, 2017, said: “I, Khemraj Ramjattan, support what the President did” (referring to the unilateral appointment of Mr Patterson). Fortunately, the AFC woke up, and is today calling for the appointment of the new GECOM Chairman within 2 weeks. I foresee a political collision in the Coalition, since this new AFC position is a clear deviation from Mr Granger’s style of taking as long as 44 weeks the last time to do a simple job of picking the best of six names.
Finally, it must be noted that Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, in these challenging times, illustrated his willingness to bring swift resolution to this business by committing to meeting with Mr Granger every single day until a new GECOM Chairman is appointed. Unfortunately, the process started off with a bad omen; a dirty untruth. When asked by the CCJ why the PNC and the PPP have not been able to meet, Mr Basil Williams rose and said, on June 24, 2019, that Mr Granger has written a letter to Mr Jagdeo “for them to have a meeting on relevant matters connected with these cases”. Mr Williams further told the CCJ that “they (Jagdeo/Granger) have not met as yet” since Mr Jagdeo has not yet “indicated any time, or provided any response” to Mr Granger.
This is what the letter from Mr Joseph Harmon on behalf of Mr Granger said, and I quote: “Mr. Granger invites you to meet with him at the Ministry of the Presidency at a time convenient to yourself, AFTER MONDAY JUNE 24, 2019” to discuss “the current political situation resulted from the decisions of the CCJ made on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, and the Consequential Orders which will be made on Monday, June 24, 2019”. Pick sense from nonsense – isn’t Mr Granger asking to meet AFTER JUNE 24, 2019, not before or on that date?
However, on June 24, 2019, Mr Basil Williams sought to project the image that Mr Jagdeo is yet to respond. Does Mr Williams understand the English definition of the word “AFTER”? Let me volunteer to help him. The word “AFTER” is a Germanic word that is closely linked to the Dutch word “achter”, meaning “behind”. In the final analysis, Mr Granger intimated to Mr Jagdeo that behind (after) the conclusion of the hearings on the CCJ Consequential Orders, he would like to meet Mr Jagdeo. That means any time after 12 midnight on June 24, 2019.
Writing on behalf of Mr Jagdeo, Ms. Gail Teixeira responded that he “is prepared to meet with Mr Granger “at any time, and on a daily basis if need be, to address the appointment of a new Chairman of GECOM”.
So, while Mr Granger asks to meet on the CCJ decisions, Mr Jagdeo’s responded with a surgical focus that he wants to meet exclusively on one matter only: the appointment of a new GECOM Chairman.
In a rational environment, at most this business can be concluded in 1 day, since Mr Jagdeo has already concluded his consultations with the stakeholders on 18 names. In that pool, there are enough first rated people to select 6 suitable names. But will Mr Granger rise to the occasion and do the honourable thing?