Unilateral choosing of Gecom Chairman a ‘dangerous decision’ – private sector

The Private Sector Com-mission (PSC) yesterday said it believes President David Granger’s decision to unilaterally appoint the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) poses a threat to democracy and has the potential to divide the nation and destabilise the economy.

“The decision of the President to act unilaterally and independently of the submissions of the Leader of the Opposition poses a clear threat to democracy and will inevitably divide the nation and lead to economic instability.  It is a dangerous decision,” the PSC said in a brief statement.

Following  an over two-hour-long web conference that the PSC held with its executives to discuss the issue, the umbrella private sector body yesterday lamented that an agreement could not be reached between the country’s leaders.

“It is extremely unfortunate that his Excellency the President and the Leader of the Opposition have failed to find agreement on the appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission,” it said.

Given government’s commitment then to working with the PSC on developing the country’s economic sector and with pledges for follow-ups on matters where the opposition had also contributed, the PSC said that it was eagerly anticipating working with both sides.

“The Private Sector Commission, throughout the entire process of exchange between the President and the Leader of the Opposition, had hoped that the appointment of the Chairman of GECOM would continue in an open and transparent manner and in accord with the requirements of the Constitution,” the statement read.

‘Crisis’

Meanwhile, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) said that Granger acted illegally and this will have repercussions on the country.

“The President’s selection, which came without any warning, must have been a shock to all right-thinking, democracy-loving Guyanese and has plunged our country into an obvious deep political and constitutional crisis which we have not experienced in recent times.

It is disbelieving that the President chose to act contrary to the clearly set out and unambiguous mechanism contained in the Constitution. The President who, on several occasions, committed himself to act in accordance with the Constitution, in our view, has waded into murky political waters which our country and people need not enter into and our still growing nation cannot benefit from.

His decision, from our point of view, casts a long, dark shadow on his and his Administration’s sincerity to uphold our Constitution and to maintain and preserve our cherished, even if fledging, democratic culture,” a statement from FITUG said.

The Union movement doesn’t believe that the unilateral appointment can hold legal ground.

“President Granger, we believe, had a more than ample choice to select from among the suitable nominees put forward by Mr Jagdeo, a Gecom Chairman who would have enjoyed the respect and confidence of all Guyanese.

The fact that the President has chosen to act outside of the list he received is not reflective of a commitment to protecting and further advancing our democratic culture and thrust, something he as President is charged with upholding. Furthermore, it gives rise to the notion that Mr Granger was simply engaged in a charade regarding the appointment of the GECOM Chair-man,” FITUG posited.

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