Granger adamant against giving reasons for rejecting Jagdeo’s nominees
By Devina Samaroo
Despite widespread calls from nearly all quarters of society, President David Granger is adamant that he will not give reasons for rejecting the 18 nominees even though it would bring more clarity regarding his unilateral appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission.
Following his unilateral appointment of 84-year-old Justice James Patterson as the new Chairman of GECOM, President Granger received tremendous backlash for his decision.
Many organizations including the Guyana Bar Association, the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, pressure group RISE, and political commentators such as Christopher Ram, have called on the President to give reasons for his rejection of the nominees submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
However, Granger on Monday, October 23, remained adamant that he will not do so even though the Chief Justice Acting Roxane George-Wiltshire ruled that giving reasons will be in the furtherance of good governance and democracy.
“I do not know that that requirement is enshrined in the Constitution… I have not seen in the Constitution which requires me, I know the Chief Justice has made certain statements and I intend not to contradict the Chief Justice but I have not been advised that that is a requirement which is enforceable,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at State House on Monday.
Meanwhile, there are concerns about the suitability of Justice Patterson for the post especially in comparison with some of the nominees submitted by the Opposition Leader.
In fact, Justice Patterson does not conform to the criteria that President Granger had outlined to Jagdeo. Granger’s criteria, among other things, require the GECOM Chairman not to be involved in political and religious advocacy.
Justice Patterson has been a religious leader for years but the President said he sees nothing wrong with this.
“I was asked by the Leader of the Opposition to suggest certain criteria which were not necessarily incorporated in the Constitution,” he explained, indicating that the criteria had outlined was not set in stone.
The President also denied that Justice Patterson is affiliated with the People’s National Congress. Further, Patterson’s claim that he was the Chief Justice in Grenada is also being questioned as there are no records to support this.