Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Thursday said that President David Granger is still considering the third list of nominees for the post of Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom), which was submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo a month ago.
“This is a matter which is still in the consideration of the president and in due course we will be advised,” Harmon told a post-Cabinet press briefing.
Harmon gave no indication of when the president would announce his decision.
On August 25, Jagdeo announced that he had submitted a third list of six nominees for the post, which has been vacant since the former Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally demitted office at the end of February, after 15 years.
The latest nominees are Joe Singh, a retired Guyana Defence Force Major General, who previously held the post; former long-serving magistrate Krisndat Persaud; attorneys Teni Housty and Sanjeev Datadin; pilot and biodiversity advocate Annette Arjoon-Martins; and Adventist pastor and agriculturalist Onesi La Fleur.
Singh is seen as the likeliest candidate on the list given that the former army chief of staff successfully ran off the 2001 general elections and is respected on both sides of the political divide and in civil society.
He was Executive Director of Conservation International from 2001 to 2005 and Chief Executive Officer of GTT from 2005 to 2010, and has recently been serving as Chairman of the National Task Force Commission for the Rehabilitation, Restoration and Renewal of Guyana.
President Granger has rejected two previous lists, saying that the six nominees on each list did not meet the criteria to be appointed Chairman.
How this third list is handled by the President is being examined closely for adherence to a recent ruling by Chief Justice Roxane George, whose court had been approached by businessman Marcel Gaskin for a judicial review of the President’s action in rejecting the first list in January of this year. Justice George’s written ruling is being awaited for clarity on several matters and it is already the subject of an appeal.
Jagdeo, while expressing concern at the delay, has indicated that he is willing to give the president some more time.