Pat­ter­son’s lapse on Gre­nada CJ ap­point­ment is grounds for re­moval - PPP/C

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

The par­lia­men­tary op­po­si­tion Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party/Civic (PPP/C) yesterday de­clared that cur­rent Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (Ge­com) James Pat­ter­son should be fired for mis­lead­ing Pres­i­dent David Granger over his ap­point­ment in Gre­nada, where he had served as act­ing Chief Jus­tice.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence yesterday, PPP/C Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP) Priya Man­ickc­hand re­peat­edly stressed that her party not only re­mains ex­tremely out­raged at the process through which Pat­ter­son was ap­pointed but also about the “un­suit­abil­ity of the gentle­man him­self.”

“If you are will­ing to lie on your CV …the pres­i­dent has good rea­son, good grounds, to un­abashedly and un­apolo­get­i­cally re­scind this ap­point­ment based on the mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions made to him,” she said.

Pat­ter­son was sworn in on Oc­to­ber 19, two and a half hours af­ter Granger met with Op­po­si­tion Leader Bhar­rat Jagdeo to in­form him of the re­jec­tion of a third list of can­di­dates that was sub­mit­ted by him. At the time of the ap­point­ment, Granger iden­ti­fied Pat­ter­son as hav­ing held of the post of Chief Jus­tice of Gre­nada, a claim he made in his Cur­ricu­lum Vi­tae.

Pat­ter­son has since clar­i­fied that he was never sub­stan­tive Chief Jus­tice of Gre­nada but had acted in the po­si­tion for a short pe­riod of time.

In a let­ter pub­lished in yesterday’s edi­tion of Kai­eteur News, Pat­ter­son, in re­spond­ing to a re­port in that news­pa­per, fur­ther noted that his CV, which was “hastily writ­ten for the first time in three decades, did not con­tain the word “act­ing”…the omis­sion was a lap­sus calami, a tri­fling slip of the pen, and un­wor­thy of fur­ther dis­course. This storm in a teacup could best be de­scribed as de min­imis.”

He went on to de­clare that he “abides by the old say­ing a half-truth is a whole lie.”

This ex­pres­sion is now be­ing used by the op­po­si­tion to ques­tion Pat­ter­son’s in­tegrity.

“He said he didn’t up­date his CV for over three decades. The clear sug­ges­tion is that he had one that he sub­mit­ted to Granger when asked for it. Thirty years ago [around 1987], when he was just fin­ished act­ing CJ, he would have writ­ten “act­ing” as it would have been more fresh in his mind that he was act­ing. In the ac­tual one he sub­mit­ted, “act­ing” is left out. It ap­pears, there­fore, that ei­ther he removed the word “act­ing” from this new CV, thereby de­lib­er­ately ly­ing or he lied from the beginning (30 years ago) when he put Chief Jus­tice on his CV, know­ing fully well he never was. In ei­ther event, he clearly has some se­ri­ous char­ac­ter flaws go­ing di­rectly to­wards his in­tegrity,” Man­ickc­hand, a prac­tis­ing lawyer, ex­plained. “By his own words, his half-truth on his CV is a whole lie,” she added.

Man­ickc­hand also ques­tioned Pat­ter­son’s de­ci­sion to al­low the ques­tions about his ten­ure in Gre­nada to cir­cu­late for more than two weeks and to only re­spond to the very pub­lic queries once cor­nered by the press. “Mis­ter Pat­ter­son has had a long time to re­spond but he has been re­fus­ing to an­swer ques­tions from the press. He is no longer a pri­vate per­son. He has to an­swer to the pub­lic and he chose not to do so un­til now,” she noted.

James Pat­ter­son

Priya Man­ickc­hand

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