People’s Progressive Party Executive Anil Nandall has questioned the Curriculum Vitae that President David Granger submitted for handpicked Gecom Commis-sioner James Patterson saying that Patterson fails to meet even requirements set by Granger himself.
“I remember the President saying that the person must possess the three ‘Is’ that is, they must be independent, must have integrity and must be impartial. I say with the greatest of respect that Justice Patterson does not satisfy these requirements,” Nandall said yesterday.
As he juxtaposed the President’s stated requirements for the position with credentials he boasted that Patterson had, Nandall questioned the impartiality of the now Chairman.
“In his resume, Justice Patterson states that he was the Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987. For the last three days I have spoken to several retired judges and lawyers from Grenada and in the Eastern Caribbean jurisdiction and all of them have confirmed that Justice Patterson was never appointed Chief Justice of Grenada. I have consulted a book which chronicled all the important post holders of Grenada and the Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987 is listed as Samuel Graham. I have received information that a Guyanese who worked for over 25 years in Grenada in a very high public office has advised the President that Justice Patterson was never appointed Chief Justice in Grenada, yet the President sites Justice Patterson’s alleged appointment as Chief Justice of Grenada as a basis of appointing him chair of Gecom,” Nandlall charges.
“In a list of criteria submitted by the President to the Leader of the Opposition, the President indicated that the person who he is looking for must not be a religious activist or leader. In his CV, Justice Patterson described himself as a reverend and an entire page in that CV is dedicated to listing the several theological qualifications which he possesses and religious posts which he held. Justice Patterson can by no objective standards be adjudged as impartial or independent,” he added.
Calls by this newspaper to Patterson’s home yesterday went unanswered but Stabroek News was told by a source close to him that he acted as Chief Justice for a brief period in 1987.
“He acted as Chief Justice in Grenada for a short period but don’t hold me to a date,” the source said.
However, the Curriculum Vitae produced by the President states that Patterson was the Chief Justice in 1987.
It states that in 1983, Patterson was invited to be a member of the Judiciary of Grenada and he joined in April of that year.
The CV says that he returned to Guyana in 1991 for a position on the bench of the Supreme Court of Judicature and served until he retired in 1996 – 21 years ago.
Further, it states that Patterson was on the Advisory Committee to the Attorney General but does not state which Attorney General or for what period. Patterson was this year named to the advisory committee for Attorney General Basil Williams.
Noted too is the fact that Patterson says that he is a trained theologian and was Chairman of the Church of God in Guyana from 1998 to 2001 and a Senior Pastor at the Jesus Deliverance Mission, located in Kitty, Georgetown following that.
And because he accompanied the Leader of the Opposition on every meeting he had with President Granger on the matter of the Gecom Chairman, Nandall said that he was privy to Granger’s own explanation of what he was looking for in a Chairman and that it was someone that was impartial. He said at one point in time, the Leader of the Opposition had asked the President for some guidance on the criteria he would find acceptable after the first six names were rejected. “I remember the President saying that the person must possess the three ‘Is’… The Chief justice (Roxane George) in her ruling also said that article 161 of the constitution contemplates a person who is independent, impartial and must have integrity,” Nandall said.
But he said the evidence that his party has gathered links Patterson to not only social organizations but alignments with Granger’s party, the People’s National Congress (now PNCR) and by extension the Granger-led APNU+AFC government of which the PNC is the largest member.
“The evidence available links him intricately to this Government and to the People’s National Congress. He has been appointed as Adviser to the Attorney General, a post for which he is paid a salary of $800,000 per month, so he is an employee of the Government. He has been appointed by the Government to head a Commission of Inquiry into the Georgetown prison break in July 2017. He has been appointed by the President to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy; so he is an Adviser to the President. He has been appointed by the President to a committee to review applications for the position of Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary,” Nandlall says.
“Even more damaging, he was a pallbearer at former President Desmond Hoyte’s funeral, this was not the State funeral, and this was a private event for Party leaders and supporters which was held at Merriman’s Funeral Parlour. The other pallbearers at that event were all PNC leaders, members and supporters. This information can be found on the PNC website, I have photographs in the event that they now wish to remove them. Justice Patterson is also a member of the Facebook page calling itself ‘Rally around the People’s National Congress’, established just before the 2015 General Elections.
How can anyone have any confidence in this person’s independence, impartiality and integrity?” he questioned.
He explained that he believed, albeit the President stating that he needed a person who possessed the “three Is, that Granger would eventually choose a person to his own liking, irrespective of the provision of the Constitution.
Almost a year thereafter, Nandall says that is exactly what the President did, appointing the 84- year-old Patterson, and that he should be called out for his deceit and hypocrisy given that he had fired other persons for being too old.
“In the process, he has led this nation along a deceptive and agonizing path of public debates on constitutional interpretations, public consultations which produced 18 persons, all of whom were eventually rejected, and even a ruling from the court has not assisted. Instead of using it as a guide, the President dishonestly uses selective parts of it to justify his perverse appointment,” he posited.
“One cannot discount the fact also, that the Government has asked Justice Cecil Kennard to resign as Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority and Prem Persaud to resign from the Public Utilities Commission and the Judicial Service Commission. Their ages are 80 and 76 respectively.
The President is reported in the press as saying that they were requested to resign because of their age. Mr. Patterson is 84 years old. Yet, the President appoints him,” he asserted.
“I will be bold enough to say that Justice Patterson can match none of the 18 names rejected by the President on the ground of qualifications, integrity, impartiality, independence or any other ground. The appointment simply cannot be allowed to stand,” Nandlall added.