In mak­ing GECOM ap­point­ment, Pres­i­dent acted out of ne­ces­sity to end po­lit­i­cal game be­ing played by Mr Jagdeo

Stabroek News - - LETTERS - Yours faith­fully, Ron­ald Bulkan Peo­ple’s Na­tional Congress Re­form

Dear Ed­i­tor, The in­ten­sity of the wide­spread re­ac­tion fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Granger’s ap­point­ment of Jus­tice James Pat­ter­son to fill the of­fice of Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion, and the on­go­ing pub­lic dis­course re­veals much about who and where we are as a peo­ple. To me, it lays bare the frag­ile, in­deed, del­i­cate na­ture of our so­cio-po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity. It makes clear the fact that although we have come a long way from a colo­nial sys­tem of gov­er­nance and ac­com­pa­ny­ing men­tal­ity, we have much work to do to build and main­tain our fledg­ling democ­racy.

As has been made pel­lu­cid by in­de­pen­dently-think­ing le­gal schol­ars, the Pres­i­dent’s ac­tion was cor­rect in law, and is con­sis­tent with the Con­sti­tu­tional man­date and right­ful ex­pec­ta­tion be­stowed upon him by virtue of his of­fice. There­fore, any as­ser­tion that Pres­i­dent Granger acted out­side the let­ter and spirit of the law has no merit. Pre­dictably, such spu­ri­ous con­tentions in­vari­ably em­anate from those with a po­lit­i­cal agenda. That said, I will con­cern my­self with the non-le­gal as­pect of his de­ci­sion and ac­tion.

His Ex­cel­lency – as any ob­jec­tive ob­server will cer­tainly con­clude – was rail­roaded into tak­ing a po­lit­i­cally less than ideal road af­ter be­ing forced to do so by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion. The Pres­i­dent did so in the in­ter­est of the peo­ple of Guyana. The Pres­i­dent, in mak­ing a wise de­ci­sion, put an end to the shenani­gans be­ing per­pe­trated by Mr. Jagdeo, whose goal it was to have a Chair who would be bi­ased in favour of the PPP.

First, the state of va­cancy of the Chair could not be al­lowed to con­tinue pri­mar­ily ow­ing to the fact that lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions are due by De­cem­ber 7, 2018. And no sin­gle cit­i­zen, whomever that may be, must be al­lowed to frus­trate the demo­cratic pro­cesses of an en­tire coun­try. The ur­gent and es­sen­tial work of pre­par­ing for con­tin­u­a­tion of the process of lo­cal demo­cratic re­newal could no longer be held up by an ob­sti­nate Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, an in­di­vid­ual who re­peat­edly demon­strates that he has no in­ter­est in hav­ing lo­cal democ­racy, and that a de­cen­tralised sys­tem of gov­er­nance ob­tains, in ac­cor­dance with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Sec­ond, The Pres­i­dent acted out of ne­ces­sity, to end the po­lit­i­cal game be­ing played by Mr. Jagdeo. Again, any im­par­tial ob­server could see that Mr. Jagdeo de­lib­er­ately, ma­li­ciously, and cal­cu­lat­ingly sub­mit­ted a flawed

list in the first in­stance. Although, at that junc­ture, the Pres­i­dent could have legally, uni­lat­er­ally ap­pointed a Chair, he mag­nan­i­mously en­ter­tained the con­sid­er­a­tion of not one, but two ad­di­tional lists, both of which were sim­i­larly flawed and there­fore, un­ac­cept­able.

Third, Pres­i­dent Granger, act­ing within his re­mit, took ac­tion in the in­ter­est of the na­tion, although a rea­son­able per­son could pre­dict that such ac­tion could have been used, and is be­ing used, as po­lit­i­cal am­mu­ni­tion by the self-serv­ing Leader of the Op­po­si­tion. For this self­less act, the Pres­i­dent is to be ap­plauded. I com­mend the many let­ters and other ex­pres­sions of sup­port for the coura­geous ac­tion taken by His Ex­cel­lency.

I wel­come pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the dis­course, in par­tic­u­lar, I note a let­ter penned by the African Cul­tural and De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (ACDA) cap­tioned, ‘Pres­i­dent has shown lead­er­ship in ap­point­ment of Chair­per­son for GECOM’ (SN, 27 Oct) and one au­thored by Ms. Melinda Janki cap­tioned, ‘We cit­i­zens must talk to one another about a re­place­ment for the Carter for­mula’ (SN, 30 Oct), among oth­ers.

Fi­nally, I take this op­por­tu­nity to re­mind that sovereignty be­longs to the peo­ple (Ar­ti­cle 9 of the Con­sti­tu­tion). Cit­i­zens who wish to par­tic­i­pate in the po­lit­i­cal process have an av­enue through which to do so, that is, through the supreme or­gans of demo­cratic power (Ar­ti­cle 50), there is no back door. Fur­ther, cit­i­zens should be­come in­volved be­cause we can­not wish away the un­de­sir­able as­pects of the sta­tus quo. In­stead, we must be­come par­tic­i­pants in­stead of spec­ta­tors if we wish to make a mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion.

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