Work begins on reappointing Ethnic Relations Commission, others – Teixeira

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Just over two weeks after the Parliamentary recess ended, the Committee of Appointments met on Wednesday with the task ahead set on finding consensus to reappoint several Constitutional Commissions which have recently expired.

That committee is headed by Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira. She told the News Room on Wednesday that she had hoped that the process would be further along by this time.

But the first Commission up for reappointment, which would include a process of consultation to get nominees for Commissioners, is the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).

Teixeira said the Committee of Appointments is also still finalising its list of entities with a delay in responses from some entities stalling the process.

“We have to get a two-thirds majority…I had hoped we would have finished it [the list of entities] before but some organisations haven’t responded and we have been lenient offering some time to respond but there are some delays in that area,” she explained.

Teixeira said with consultations for nominees to the ERC to commence soon, she is focused on working along with the parliamentary opposition to secure the two-thirds majority vote required to approve the nominees to these commissions.

Without that level of parliamentary consensus, it could further delay the process.   She said too that while work has begun on the ERC, the committee is also examining what needs to be done for other Commissions.

But even if Parliament is successful in finding consensus on the nominees for reappointing the important Commissions, some require meaningful consultations between the President and Opposition Leader on the selection of a chairperson.

But President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have not met for the first year of his presidency because Harmon has failed to recognise the Irfaan Ali led government as legitimate.

The President has repeatedly stated that he will not meet with the Opposition Leader unless he recognises the government as democratically elected while also assuring that the constitutional procedure for a new Commission and the selection of Chairpersons would be activated.

There has been no clear indication of how the government intends to do this as a consequence of the strained relationship between Dr. Ali and Harmon.

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