The Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce today called on President David Granger to rescind the unilateral appointment of retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM and it also blistered the Alliance For Change (AFC) for its stance on the matter.
In a statement, the Chamber condemned what it said was the “blatant disregard” by the President of the constitution.
“We (were) convinced that this is what the president and his advisers wanted to do all along, ever since the first list (of nominees) was submitted and he rejected names like Christopher Ram and Lawrence Lachmansingh. How else can one explain why a practice for twenty-five years was thrown through the windows and the President even rejected a man (Major General Ret’d Joe Singh) who was proposed by the then PNC when in opposition” and who had successfully run the 2001 general elections.
The Chamber statement was the latest in a torrent of criticism of Granger for his disregarding of three lists from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo totalling 18 names and naming his own candidate.
“The action of President Granger will do immense damage to our fledgling democracy. In getting in power through a coalition Mr. Granger should have known better. His senseless action will severely dent if not kill any future crossover voting by the two major races of Guyana and throw us back to the 70’s and 80’s. Instead of trying to build a country, people will once again be consumed by ‘rigged elections’ as the suspicions and fears of the ‘rigging machines’ of the old PNC comes to life”, the Chamber said.
It also argued that the AFC had to take a major part of the blame and described its claim that the President’s unilateral decision was needed because of a “looming constitutional crisis” as pathetic.
“They should be ashamed of themselves as they were the ones who helped to create this crisis in the first place by their cowardly attitude in not demanding their partner abide with a practice which served the people for 25 years. They have also forgotten that many of them (especially Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo),fought for decades for free and fair elections including (on) this very matter, which they are now loosely and casually compromising themselves to support. What a shame! What is inexplicable also, by their complicity they are presiding over the final rites of their party and in so doing has doomed us to the two major parties for the foreseeable future”, the Chamber declared.
The Chamber added that the hypocrisy of the Granger appointment is palpable.
“By the president’s own definition Justice Patterson is clearly ‘not fit and proper’. No experience in electoral matters, he is a religious leader, (president insisted the person must have experience and should not be a religious leader) and to crown it all, Patterson is an adviser to the attorney general, an employee of the government (president insisted the person must be neutral and independent). He may have also advised on this very (GECOM) matter. We are calling on the President to rescind this appointment forthwith and save this country the anguish over the next few years. We are also calling on the ABC countries (US, UK and Canada) who played a major role in the last elections to ensure our fledgling democracy is maintained”, the Chamber stated.