PPP will chal­lenge uni­lat­eral move by Pres­i­dent Jagdeo

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Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, Bhar­rat Jagdeo, said the his party will chal­lenge any move by Pres­i­dent Granger to ap­point a Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion out­side of the con­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments which re­quires the Pres­i­dent to choose from a list submitted by the Op­po­si­tion leader.

“If he goes uni­lat­er­ally, we will have to chal­lenge it,” Jagdeo told a large gath­er­ing at a Umana Yana pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which was or­gan­ised to ap­praised the pub­lic about de­vel­op­ments re­lated to the stalled ef­forts to have a new Chair­man of the Elec­tions Com­mis­sion.

The Pub­lic fo­rum was ad­dressed by civil so­ci­ety rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Mr. Ron­ald Burch­smith, At­tor­ney-at-Law, and Mr. Nigel Hinds, Fi­nan­cial An­a­lyst. Mr.Mo­habir Anil Nand­lall, MP, At­tor­ney at Law/For­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs, also ad­dressed the fo­rum which was chaired by for­mer Tourism Min­is­ter, Man­soor Nadir.

The guest speak­ers, Burch­smith and Hinds con­cluded that the Pres­i­dent must ex­pe­di­tiously ad­dress the is­sues sur­round­ing the ap­point­ment of the Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion and that the po­si­tion as Chair­man is too im­por­tant to be de­layed. Both ad­dressed sev­eral of the con­sti­tu­tional is­sues in­volved. Nand­lall dealt with the sev­eral le­gal mat­ters that are in­volved.

Main Speaker and for­mer pres­i­dent, Bjar­rat Jagdeo, high­lighted the fact that even while the con­sti­tu­tional process has not been con­cluded, the Pres­i­dent has pub­licly stated that he will choose a judge to be the next Chair­man.

Ac­cord­ing to Jagdeo, this po­si­tion is un­der­min­ing the process since the con­sti­tu­tion re­quires that per­sons other than judges can be­named as Chair­man. He said that the sit­u­a­tion has the po­ten­tial to de­ter­mine the coun­try’s fu­ture in myr­iad ways if pro­posed

talks be­tween a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Gov­ern­ment and Op­po­si­tion ended in a stale­mate and the pres­i­dent uni­lat­er­ally chooses a chair­per­son.

“Many peo­ple have been call­ing me and they have many opin­ions. One is the pres­i­dent is get­ting bad ad­vice from an in­com­pe­tent At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and there is an­other view that the Pres­i­dent in­tends, on this own, given his phi­los­o­phy and his­tory, to break with demo­cratic tra­di­tion and ap­point a chair­man hav­ing paid lip ser­vice to the process us­ing ob­scure le­gal ar­gu­ments…. ap­point a chair­man that is sym­pa­thetic to the PNC that will up­set the bal­ance at Ge­com and con­vert Ge­com into a tool of the PNC with the aim of rig­ging elec­tions in the fu­ture,” he said

“If the first view is true… we were hop­ing to meet with the pres­i­dent not to have tea or have cof­fee or dis­cuss a per­sonal is­sue but to dis­cuss a mat­ter that in­volved our fu­ture. We are not beg­ging for a meet­ing to go and see Granger and see how beau­ti­ful his of­fice is. We be­lieve, if the first view is rel­e­vant, that the meet­ing would have helped shape his opin­ion that there is a sig­nif­i­cant body out there that points to a di­rec­tion dif­fer­ent from what his At­tor­ney-Gen­eral is ad­vis­ing him on… if he goes uni­lat­er­ally, we will have to chal­lenge it… We have al­ready been in the pub­lic do­main on how we want to deal with the mat­ter…,” he added.

The is­sue has its ge­n­e­sis in Pres­i­dent Granger’s re­jec­tion of a list of six nom­i­nees submitted by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion af­ter con­sul­ta­tions with a num­ber of stake­hold­ers. Af­ter re­ject­ing the list Granger pub­licly ex­pressed his pref­er­ence for a Judge, for­mer Judge or some­one qual­i­fied to be a Judge though the con­sti­tu­tion also men­tions any other ‘fit and proper per­son’.

Pres­i­dent David Granger has re­fused to meet with the Op­po­si­tion Leader and in­stead pro­posed a meet­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the two of them. That meet­ing has not been held as yet. He has also not re­sponded to nu­mer­ous calls for him to give rea­sons for his re­jec­tion of the list submitted by Jagdeo.

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