Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo is preparing a third list of nominees for the position of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission and has shortlisted 10 names.
At a press conference at his Church Street office yesterday, Jagdeo said that one of the persons he selected has already said no.
In response to a question, he told reporters: “We shortlisted 10 persons so from the 10 we have to go down to the first six that we’ll talk to but…one of the ten has already said to me ‘no, I don’t want to be subject to public humiliation’ so I’ll now have to talk one-on-one with those people so over the next few days I’ll do that.”
President David Granger had rejected two previous lists, saying that the six nominees on each list did not meet the criteria to be appointed Chairman.
The Opposition Leader could not say how soon the list would be ready because the process of consultation with the people may take some time.
He noted that: “It’s not … a process that you can shortcut.”
Asked whether he would be using any of the names from the first and second lists, Jagdeo answered in the negative. “If I do, that could be another excuse of the President to say ‘look he is being provocative’”, he said.
After Granger rejected the first list, Jagdeo nominated former appellate judge B S Roy, former High Court Justice William Ramlal, former magistrate and now practising attorney Oneidge Walrond-Allicock, attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar and former Guyana Defence Force Captain and businessman Gerald Gouveia for the post of GECOM Chairperson.
The President has rejected the lists citing Article 161 (2) of the Constitution, which states: “Subject to the provisions of paragraph (4), the Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the President, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly.”
The nominees on the first list were Major General (ret’d) Norman McLean; Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram; Business Executive, Ramesh Dookhoo, Governance and Conflict Resolution Specialist, Lawrence Lachmansingh; Indian Rights Activist, Ryhaan Shah and History Professor, Dr James Rose.
Since the former chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally retired in February, the commission has been without a chairman. He served in the position for 15 years.
Jagdeo had said at a previous press conference that he foresees a ‘‘constitutional crisis” if Granger continues to delay the selection of a GECOM chairman.
He had said too that the President seems to have an ulterior motive for rejecting the two previous lists.