Professor Harold Lutchman, a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Caribbean Court of Justice and also a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, has agreed to be the Representative of the List for the APNU+AFC alliance, Stabroek News has confirmed.
Lutchman on Nomination Day tomorrow will present the alliance’s list of candidates for the May 11 general and regional elections to the Chief Elections Officer. There has been much interest in the alliance’s selection for this post as that person would have to ensure that the agreements between APNU and the AFC as it relates to the National Assembly and other matters are honoured. Chief among these agreements is the AFC being guaranteed 12 parliamentary seats win or lose.
The alliance will today be confirming Lutchman’s deputy and finalizing plans for tomorrow’s highly anticipated political event, a
well-placed source said.
The source told Stabroek News that the alliance has every confidence that both Lutchman and his deputy will bring impartiality to the table. Stabroek News understands that the 77-year-old Lutchman has indicated that he is honoured to serve his country and brings to the coalition a wealth of experience.
The career academic has a degree in Economics with a minor in Government, now Political Science from the University of the West Indies. After his stellar performance, he received a scholarship to undertake his Masters in the same discipline.
He was also the first student on an exchange programme between the University of the West Indies and University of Manchester and gained a PhD there in Political Science.
Lutchman worked at the University of Guyana until 1986 when he left as a professor to take up employment in the United States Virgin Islands at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).
He lectured at UVI and was courted by the late President Dr Cheddi Jagan after the PPP/C won the general elections in 1992 to return to his homeland to work at the University of Guyana as Vice-Chancellor. It took some years but Lutchman was convinced and returned and served in the post until he retired.
Well respected in the regional legal fraternity, Lutchman’s career included the Caribbean Court of Justice as he was one of the first persons to be selected as trustee for the institution. His recruitment was influenced through the support of the Caribbean Congress of Labour. He subsequently was also privileged to serve regional services.
Specializing in administrative law, Lutchman who gained his accreditation in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, has focused his legal career not on practice but on research and administration.
Born on the East Coast of Demerara, Lutchman still resides in that area but in a different village than where he was born. He has two children and spends much of his days writing.
Lutchman’s position now as Representative of the List places him once again in the public eye.
Under the Representation of the People Act (1968), the Representative of the List is charged with submitting to the Chief Election Officer the parties’ candidate’s lists. According to the Act, the Representative of the list is charged with presenting a list of candidates that fulfils all the requirements inclusive of a list of qualified persons to be elected to the National Assembly reflective of each geographical constituency. A national top-up list which differs from the geographical constituencies and which comprises 42 names of qualified persons inclusive of the party’s Presidential candidate, also has to be submitted.
Duplicate names can be on the geographical list as well as the top-up list, however a provision of the Act 11B (4:c) stipulates that “candidate’s name can appear on a geographical constituency list and also on the national top-up list of a party, but if the candidate is allocated a seat based on the results in a geographical constituency that candidate’s name cannot also be extracted from the national top-up list, and vice versa, for membership of the National Assembly.”
The Representative of the List can also be a representative on each of the lists for the 10 geographical constituencies and for the 10 Regional Democratic Councils.
Section 14 of the Act states that should the Elections Commission find the list of candidates defective, the CEO has no later than 30 days prior to elections to inform the Representative of the List of the defects who then has one day to fix the errors and resubmit to the commission the corrections to the list.
The Representative of the List is also called upon to provide replacements for any parliamentary seats that become vacant. Traditionally, the Representative of the List has been the leader of the party but given the alliance deal hammered out between APNU and the AFC in February, both agreed that a member of civil society would occupy this position.