President David Granger has declared the list of nominees provided to him by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to be unacceptable.
The Head of State made the announcement today during his remarks at the second annual Media Brunch hosted at State House.
Mr Granger who was very casual in his announcement to members of the media earlier today (Sunday, January 8, 2017) said “let me tell you now because you’ll soon find out that the list that was sent to me was unacceptable.”
According to the President the requirements for the nominee and Chairman of the commission are clearly outlined in the Article 161 of the Constitution which states “subject to the provisions of paragraph four the Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a Court having jurisdiction in Appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such Judge or any other fit person to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons not unacceptable the President submitted by the Leader of the Opposition.”
This list of course would have had to have been formulated by the Opposition Leader after meaningful consultation with members of non-governmental political organizations represented in the National Assembly.
There is also the provision, Mr Granger noted that says “provided that if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list as provided for the President shall appoint a person who holds or has held office as a Judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a Court having jurisdiction in Appeals from any such Court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such Judge.”
“(Judge) four times in one Article they mentioned that word, Judge” the President said.
This has led President Granger to conclude that the only thing about Mr Jagdeo’s list of nominees for GECOM chairperson that it comprises is six names.
Jagdeo’s nominees are Attorney-at-law and Social Commentator, Christopher Ram, Peace and Governance Consultant, Lawrence Lachmansingh, Former Army Chief, Norman Mc Lean, Former UG Vice- Chancellor, Professor Dr James Rose, Business Advocate, Ramesh Dookhoo and Businesswoman, Ryhaan Shah.
News Room reached out to Ram, the sole holder of a law degree for comment on the President’s decision to disregard him as a suitable candidate, who said he respects Mr Granger’s decision and he remains unbothered.
GECOM’s last chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally, who was deemed fit for the job since the early 2000s, is a veterinarian.