Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Guyana Opposition Leader submits new list for position of GECOM chairman

Published:Saturday | August 26, 2017 | 9:52 AM
Bharrat Jagdeo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC- Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has named a former chairman among six people for the position of chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

In a statement, Jagdeo said he had submitted the names to President David Granger in a bid to get a replacement for Dr. Steve Surujbally, who stepped down last November.

The Opposition Leader’s two former lists of nominees were rejected by President Granger, who noted that in keeping with the Constitution, the nominees should be persons who would have served as judges, qualified to be a judge or persons who are “fit and proper”.

Granger has already stated that he will not make any decision on his own, and whoever is chosen would be someone who enjoys the support of both the President and Opposition for the job.

But the matter has become a court issue with at least one city businessman seeking an interpretation of the country’s Constitution on the appointment of a GECOM chairman.

In July, acting Chief Justice Roxane George overruled President Granger’s interpretation of the Constitution regarding the appointment of the GECOM chairman finding that there is no particular preference for the appointment of persons within the Judiciary.

In the statement, Jagdeo said Major General Joseph Singh, Teni Housty; Sanjeev Datadin, Annette Arjoon-Martins; Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud for the position.

“It will be observed that in respect of the names which I submitted to the President, one is a former chairman of GECOM; two are attorneys-at-law with over 10 years of good standing….one who is an attorney-at-law with over 40 years of good standing and a former magistrate…one who is a business person in the local airline industry and …one who has distinguished himself as an agriculturalist and has made a sterling contribution in Guyana and the Caribbean,” Jagdeo said.

Jagdeo said that having regard to the antecedents in relation to this matter and a subsequent meeting with the President in June “where we agreed to establish a High-level Exploratory Committee which was never activated by the government, I continued an elaborate and protracted consultations which lasted several weeks with various stakeholders.

“It is my expectation that the President will select a Chairman from this list especially now that we have the ruling of the Chief Justice on this matter," Jagdeo said in the statement.