GECOM chairman answers critics; admits he was ‘acting’ Chief Justice of Grenada
By Devina Samaroo
Justice James Patterson, the new GECOM Chairman, has shut down allegations levelled against him about his role as the Chief Justice of Grenada and his association with the former president and leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), the late Desmond Hoyte.
Justice Patterson’s credibility and suitability for the post has been dragged into disrepute since his appointment on October 19, 2017, with opposition parliamentarians, especially, questioning whether he is “fit and proper” for the task.
But the GECOM Chairman in an interview with News Room Thursday afternoon (November 02, 2017) on the lawns of Parliament Building sought to set the record straight.
He debunked suspicions that he is tightly associated with the PNC because he was a pallbearer at the private funeral of the late president and leader of the PNC, Desmond Hoyte.
“If my cat goes into the oven and gets kittens, you don’t call the kittens bread. So I, along with a lot of other people who were friends with Hoyte, we studied together for years. We both worked in Grenada, but not at the same time. We have a lot of things in common. I have never been a member of any political party. Never; and I hope it’s put to rest now,” he explained.
Even though there reports are that there have been no records of his tenure as Chief Justice of Grenada, Justice Patterson also maintained that he did serve in that high office.
“I said before that I have been appointed acting Chief Justice of (Grenada), they had me acting for a number of years. People refer to me, to this day, as Chief Justice,” he stated.
Justice Patterson said he does not quite recall the precise years but noted that he went to Grenada in 1983 and returned to Guyana in 1991.
His CV does not state that he was the ‘acting’ Chief Justice. He states himself as Chief Justice, leading to arguments that that was not an accurate representation of the position he held.
Asked about his independent opinion of the constitutionality of the President’s decision to make him the GECOM Chairman, Justice Patterson only proffered that the Head of State was accordingly advised.
“The President has been properly advised,” he said.
When pointed out by the News Room that the President has been advised by the Attorney General Basil Williams who was advised by himself (Justice Patterson), he stated that “I haven’t said that.”
He added: “But he has his own intelligence and he has his Attorney General. He must have listened to his Attorney General and listened to himself and a lot of interpretation of law is commonsense.”
In addition, he quipped: “Reading the thing and see what the sentence structure takes and just go with it.”
Meanwhile, Justice Patterson said he has been settling down well in his new post and that he has been doing a lot of “reading” and “getting acquainted”.
He has also reached out to the former GECOM Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally and the two are expected to meet tomorrow (Friday, November 03, 2017).