– urges timely replacement of unconstitutionally-appointed GECOM Chair
– as Court scheduled to hand down consequential orders today
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), in a break from the utterances of members from the People’s National Congress (PNC), is calling for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rulings and the Court’s jurisdiction to hear such matters to be respected.
This was communicated in a statement on Sunday, in which the small party in the coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) noted that the rulings were important for both Guyana and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) bloc at large.
“WPA adds its voice to those which have already urged acceptance of the CCJ’s rulings even if there are partisan disagreements with, or disappointment at the outcome. In so doing, we affirm the legitimacy of the institutions we have collectively created and agreed to,” the party noted.
“In this regard, the swift recognition by the sitting government whose arguments did not find favour with the Court was most encouraging. The issues arising from the two cases are central to our country’s and the Caricom sub-region’s political process.”
According to the WPA, nothing can be more important than the removal of an elected government by means other than the electoral process. In similar manner, the WPA noted the importance of the process by which the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is appointed.
It further noted that the Court has given the two sides an opportunity to arrive at a consensus on the orders to flow from the rulings. As far as guidance is concerned, it suggested a “happy marriage between principle and practicality”. For the WPA, this is a fair balance that should be embraced by all sides.
“The ball is once again in our leaders’ court –it is yet another test of their political maturity, which has so often been absent from their deliberations. WPA prefers a workable solution by the two sides rather than an order from the CCJ, which, in any case, seems reluctant to insert itself beyond its rulings.”
At the same time, the WPA also reaffirmed a position put forward by President David Granger, that the current voters’ list is tainted. According to the party, it believes a few extra months do not amount to an unfair extension or delaying tactic.
When it comes to replacing retired Justice James Patterson as GECOM Chairman, the WPA urged that this process be completed quickly and that someone who has no political ties to any party be appointed.
“Regarding the selection of a new GECOM Chair, WPA thinks that both the Opposition Leader and the President have a responsibility to ensure that the system works to the advantage of Guyana. Towards this end, we endorse the suggestion that both leaders agree to a list of potential candidates from which the President chooses the Chair. We also suggest that such a list should not include anyone with overt political ties to any political party. We further urge that this process be done in a timely manner,” the statement added.
Last week, President Granger had requested a meeting with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. The correspondence was penned by Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, on the President’s behalf. In the letter, Harmon conveys the President’s best wishes and asks that they meet to discuss the political ramifications of the CCJ rulings.
While the letter does not specify a date and time to meet, it does say that the meeting has to be after today, Monday, June 24. Today, the CCJ will be handing down the consequential orders that follow its ruling that the No-Confidence Motion was passed.
Other consequential orders will relate to the appointment of retired Justice Patterson. The CCJ had found that Patterson’s appointment was flawed and in breach of the Constitution. The Court also ruled that the President ought to have given the Opposition Leader an explanation as to why consecutive lists of nominees for the position of GECOM Chairman were being rejected.