Ball in Opposition Leader’s Court – Harmon on new GECOM Chair

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Director-General of the Ministry of the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon Friday said the next step in the selection process of a new chairman for the country’s elections body GECOM lies with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

The issue was thrown back to President David Granger and the Opposition Leader on Thursday after the two teams representing the leaders failed to reach consensus.

Harmon at a press conference on Friday said it was the Opposition Leader’s representatives who decided to end the “hammering out” process and therefore it is that party which has to decide on what is needed going forward.

“Mr. Jagdeo has decided that his team will withdraw from the process and hand it back to him so now he will have to make the next move.

“We are interested in having a Chairman of GECOM as fast as possible because we want the elections as fast as possible,” Harmon said at a People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) press Conference at Congress Place, Sophia.

The Former Minister of State who was also one of the President’s representatives in the engagements lambasted the Opposition’s approach to the negotiations.

He maintained that the process could have continued until the required list of six names were left but accused the Opposition Leader of using the negotiations as a public relations stunt.

“Unlike the President, Jagdeo has used this process to deceive the nation and send negative and misleading messages to the Court,” Harmon said.

“Is pampazetting you see going on. We have no interest in delaying these elections,” he added.

The Director-General said the President still hopes this process is concluded in the shortest possible time but it is not clear how long he (the President) will wait for the consensual process suggested by the Caribbean Court of Justice to conclude.

“The President has always said he is working for consensus and I cannot say what the President will do if the Leader of the Opposition does not act within a certain time but I do know the President’s interest in seeing that Guyana has elections in the shortest possible time,” he noted.

Following Thursday’s meeting, Opposition Member Anil Nandlall, who was one of the persons on the Opposition Leader’s team, argued that the Government side failed to provide major clarifications.

The Opposition wanted to know which of the names submitted by the Opposition  Leader were “not unacceptable” to the President but that information could not be provided by the President’s team, Nandlall claimed.

The former GECOM Chair demitted office on June 24 after the CCJ on June 18 ruled that the process by which he was unilaterally appointed in 2017 was in breach of the Constitution.

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