Jagdeo confident CCJ will overturn decision on GECOM Chair
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo Thursday expressed confidence that the ruling by Guyana’s Court of Appeal to uphold the President’s appointment of Justice James Patterson as chair of the country’s electoral body will be overturned by Guyana’s final Court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Jagdeo said the opposition People’s Progressive Party will be moving to the CCJ to appeal the decision, which according to him, give legality to President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Justice Patterson.
The appointment, Jagdeo insisted, is in violation of the Constitution and also goes against 25 years of practice, “and this will be found by the CCJ,” he said.
“For me, it’s clear-cut. I have read parts of the judgment and I simply cannot find the strange logic used in the judgment. It is a very, very strange sort of logic and in my view contradictory,” the former President said.
Jagdeo said the ruling by the Court of Appeal would also make it okay for the President to refuse to appoint a Judge on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and still stand supreme where nothing can be done about it
He said any profound analysis of Guyana’s history and reflection on past rulings of this sort would have situated the ruling in the intent of the framers of the Constitution.
“… but I do not think that we need to even speak about the intent of the framers of the constitution.”
He said prior to the existing formula, Guyana’s President held the unilateral power to appoint chairpersons of GECOM but during the struggle for free and fair elections with the help of former U.S President Jimmy Carter, the new formula was put in place to ensure that the elections body was independent and objective.
“How did they achieve that, three from Government three from the opposition and the 7th person, the chairman is appointed through a consultative process… that formula was replicated in the constitution its intent was preserved.”
Jagdeo said apart from it being illegal, the President has also gone against 25 years of practice of appointing a chair for GECOM by the unilateral appointment of Justice Patterson.
He said the judgment from the Appeal Court ignored this but Jagdeo believes the PPP can secure a victory at the CCJ.
He said Mr Granger was the only President who rejected 18 names while all other Presidents had selected from the first six names.
This alone, he said, speaks to how the process was exploited and eroded.