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Jagdeo hopes Granger finds favour with third GECOM list

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo hopes that the President David Granger finds favour in the next list of nominees he submits as options for the new head of the country’s elections body.

He told reporters during a news conference on Friday that he has made significant progress in the compilation of the list despite the certain challenges and he hopes to make the submission to Mr Granger sometime next week.

Jagdeo said he will proceed with submitting the third list although the ruling by the Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire has added more dimensions and created more uncertainties about the matter.

“I had committed to submitting a third list publicly and with the president and I believe that I should continue with that process,” he stated.

Notwithstanding, the Opposition Leader said it is important that he meets with the Head of State to discuss the profound nature of the ruling handed down by the High Court and its implications.

However, the former President said he hopes Granger finds a “fit and proper” person from the third pool of names as such an outcome would eliminate unnecessary confusion and litigation.

Marcel Gaskin had asked the High Court to interpret specific sections of the Constitution of Guyana pertaining to the appointment of a Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission however he believes the Chief Justice stepped out of the realm of what was asked and made a ruling which ultimately allows the President to appoint someone outside of the names submitted by the Opposition Leader.

The CJ ruled that the all of the nominees do not have to be judge-like as was desired by the President and she said every reject requires, in the furtherance of democracy and good governance, reasons why they are unacceptable.

The CJ also ruled that the President does not have to be provided with a list of all six suitable persons, therefore if a single nominee alone is considered “fit and proper” then the President must appoint that individual as the new GECOM Chairman.

But an appeal filed by Gaskin is reportedly underway as he is unsatisfied with the judgment which allows the president to make a unilateral appointment.

Jagdeo said he does not know what will be the next course of action if the President rejects all the names on the third list, especially since government has failed to honour its commitment and initiate the establishment of a high-level team to work on the way forward should the third list be rejected.

“We had identified a process that should have started already but there has been no attempt on the part of the government to trigger that process because the work should have been done simultaneously; discussing what ways forward so that the current set of names meet the favour of the resident,” he explained.

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall had reasoned that a responsible government would, if it genuinely rejects the third list, await the outcome of the appeal case before making a decision to unilaterally appoint a GECOM Chairperson.

Nandlall asserted that such an approach would avoid further confusion, national stress and litigation.

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