Dharmic Sabha urges President to reverse appointment of GECOM Chair
The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) is calling for the reversal of the appointment of 84 – year – old Justice James Patterson as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The religious body, headed by opposition parliamentarian Dr Vindhya Persuad, noted that Justice Patterson’s hasty appointment raises questions about the fairness of the upcoming elections process.
“The indecent haste to appoint someone late in the night has also raised many valid questions as to the genuine desire for a transparent electoral process,” the group stated in a press release on Tuesday.
According to the GHDS, the Constitution of Guyana, which is its supreme law, prescribes a process for the selection of a GECOM Chairman which has up to this moment been respected and adhered to by all past Presidents.
“While the Constitution also provides for the President to appoint a Chairman to GECOM in the instances where no list is provided by the Opposition Leader or if those persons on the list are found to be unacceptable, the Dharmic Sabha is deeply concerned that the President has chosen to ignore the three lists provided by the Leader of the Opposition without giving any reason as to the unsuitability of those nominees,” the body said.
The organization explained that the 18 nominees were submitted after a process of wide consultation; thereby including Guyanese in the decision-making process.
“To ignore the lists of diverse and competent Guyanese smacks of arrogance and a desire to thwart the democratic process in place for all of Guyana to feel confident in the electoral process going forward,” GHDS expressed.
Dr Persaud’s organization further registered concerns over the fact that Justice Patterson is currently employed by the government in an advisory capacity.
The party also alleged that Justice Patterson has a long association with the ruling party, noting that this relationship raises concerns about the impartiality that is necessary for the constitutional post of GECOM Chair.
“Free and fair elections are intrinsic to democracy and Guyana’s democracy has been hard won. All Guyanese should feel confident that our elections are free and fair with the results reflecting the wishes of the population. The manner in which the President has appointed the new GECOM Chairman, a person who will be tasked with ensuring the transparency of elections, has raised lots of questions and feelings of distrust across the country,” the Sabha stated.
According to the religious group, President Granger has caused Guyanese to question his genuineness with regard to ensuring a democratic free and fair electoral process of elections.