Unilateral selection of GECOM Chairman an affront to democracy – FITUG
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) today said it was “very disturbed and most upset” at the unilateral, “high-handed” appointment of the new chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
“The President’s selection, which came without any warning, must have been a shock to all right-thinking, democracy-loving Guyanese and has plunged our country into an obvious deep political and constitutional crisis which we have not experienced in recent times,” FITUG stated.
The Federation said: “It is disbelieving that the President chose to act contrary to the clearly set out and unambiguous mechanism contained in the Constitution. The President who, on several occasions, committed himself to act in accordance with the Constitution, in our view, has waded into murky political waters which our country and people need not enter into and our still growing nation cannot benefit from. His decision, from our point of view, casts a long, dark shadow on his and his Administration’s sincerity to uphold our Constitution and to maintain and preserve our cherished, even if fledging, democratic culture.”
President David Granger Thursday evening swore in retired Justice James Patterson as the new GECOM Chairman. In a press release, FITUG said the President is heading down “a perilous path” which is not in the interest of our country and all Guyanese.
“It is our view that the President’s actions represent a reversal of the democratic advances we have made over the years.”
The Federation said it believes that the newly-appointed GECOM Chairman, as matured and qualified as he may be, would have started out on a wrong footing and may well find it extraordinarily challenging to perform or receive the same level of acceptance, internally or externally, as enjoyed by his predecessors.
“This can never be a good thing especially when it concerns a matter that is as sensitive as that of our elections institution which has its well-known history. Further, we hold that the President’s arbitrariness could impact our citizens’ confidence in our other national institutions which are charged with protecting our well-being.”
FITUG stated that a more than ample choice to select from among the suitable nominees put forward by Mr Jagdeo a GECOM Chairman who would have enjoyed the respect and confidence of all Guyanese.
“The fact that the President has chosen to act outside of the list he received is not reflective of a commitment to protecting and further advancing our democratic culture and thrust, something he as President is charged with upholding. Furthermore, it gives rise to the notion that Mr Granger was simply engaged in a charade regarding the appointment of the GECOM Chairman.”