Fri | Jun 22, 2018

Guyana's opposition loses court challenge of appointment of elections chairman

Published:Friday | June 8, 2018 | 3:41 PM

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire Friday dismissed an application by a senior member of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) challenging President David Granger’s decision to appoint a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission from outside the lists provided to him by the Leader of the Opposition.

In the motion, the PPP, through its Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha, asked had called on the High Court to declare that the appointment of retired Justice James Patterson violated the constitution and is  “accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect”.

The opposition party had also claimed that Justice Patterson is not constitutionally qualified to be appointed as chairman and wanted the High Court to grant an order “rescinding, revoking, cancelling and setting aside the appointment”.

The former chairman Dr Steve Surujbally had resigned in November 2016 and stepped down from office at the end of February 2017.

Justice George-Wiltshire, in dismissing the application, said that there was nothing to show that the President acted unlawfully or capriciously in appointing Patterson and that the Court could not direct the Head of State to choose a name from any of the three lists of nominees submitted to him by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

The High Court ruled that while President Granger failed to provide reasons for finding the lists unacceptable, he could have still appointed someone from outside of the lists provided.

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