CJ’s ruling destroyed balance in GECOM makeup – PPP argues in appeal

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Executive Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Zulfikar Mustapha has appealed the decision of Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire who denied an application to quash the appointment of Justice James Patterson as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Justice George-Wiltshire on Friday discarded all the grounds argued by Mustapha’s attorney Anil Nandlall to have the appointment rescinded.

In court documents seen by the News Room, Mustapha contended that the Chief Justice’s decision is “wrong and erroneous in law” because it destroys the “delicate but fundamental balance” in the composition GECOM.

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire

He asserted that the framers of the Constitution of Guyana intended to repose in a Chairman appointed by a formula captured in Article 161 (2) which ensures that such a person enjoys the confidence and acceptance of both the Leader of the Opposition and the President.

The PPP/C Executive Member also posited that the Chief Justice “erred and misdirected herself” by ruling that the President lawfully and properly invoked the proviso to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution to appoint the Chairman.

The proviso states that the President can make a unilateral appointment if the Opposition Leader fails to submit a list of acceptable nominees.

Specifically, the proviso states “provided that if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list as provided for, the President shall appoint a person who holds or has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge.”

Opposition Leader Bharat Jagdeo had submitted three lists, all of which were rejected by President Granger who contended that the nominees were not “fit and proper”.

The PPP firmly believes that the appointment of the Chairman of GECOM is unconstitutional.

The application of appeal can be found here: GECOM APPEAL

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