PPP asks Court to revoke appointment of GECOM Chairman
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday, October 23 filed legal action against the appointment of new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson.
Patterson was unilaterally appointed to the position on Thursday, October 19, 2017, by President David Granger.
Filed in the name of PPP Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha, the application seeks to have a declaration that the appointment “is in violation of and contrary to Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and is accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.”
It also stated that Justice Patterson “is not qualified” for the post, in accordance with the constitution.
The PPP is asking the court for an order directing President Granger to choose a Chair from the 18 names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition, thereby “rescinding, revoking, cancelling and setting aside” the appointment of Justice James.
The Opposition party said the application was made on the grounds that it is “singularly, the largest mass-based political movement in Guyana” and the party did not fail to submit a list of nominees for the post.
The application alluded to the fact the retired Justice is an advisor to the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs and is paid “$800,000 per month as for that post,” and played a role in several other positions either with the governing political party while in and out of Government.
According to the court documents submitted by the PPP, Justice Patterson “was appointed by the President to be part of a panel to review applications for the positions of Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary; was a pallbearer at Merriman’s Funeral Home at the funeral of former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte…(where) all the other pallbearers in relation to that part of the ceremony were People’s National Congress Party leaders, activists and supporters.”
The PPP further pointed out that the new GECOM Chair on the night of his swearing-in said he was only informed of the appointment as the Chairman of GECOM a few hours prior to his swearing-in—therefore making it impossible for the President to have been able to properly peruse his Curriculum Vitae (CV).
The court documents added that Patterson was never the Chief Justice of Grenada as he indicated in his CV. As such, the party argued that “he cannot be considered to have the requisite integrity” and cannot “be or appear to be politically impartial and independent in the discharge of the functions of his office on the grounds.”
A date for the legal proceeding is expected to be determined by the Chief Justice on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.