No comment from US, Canadian envoys on appointment of Gecom Chairman

United States Ambassador Perry Holloway and the Canadian High Com-missioner Lilian Chatterjee have declined to comment on President David Granger’s recent appointment of retired judge James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom).

Granger has sparked debate over his unilateral appointment of Patterson, 84, after rejecting 18 nominees who had been submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. Granger has maintained that he acted in accordance with the constitution, while Jagdeo has charged that he has not.

Stabroek News attempted to get a comment from Holloway on the issue but the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer Amanda Cauldwell yesterday informed that he would not be commenting on the issue at this time.

Perry Holloway

Holloway, in an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle before the President’s unilateral selection, had stated that Gecom was not in a crisis as the Constitution was being followed in the selection of Chairman.  His statement was criticized by PPP/C officials.

Efforts were also made to get a comment from Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee but her Executive Assistant Emilie Montpetit-Meilleur informed that she had “no comment at this time.”

Over the weekend, UK High Commis-sioner Greg Quinn had told this newspaper that the impasse over the appointment could be addressed via the courts but if that is done a decision must be rendered speedily.

“As we all agree the constitution should be paramount. Everything must flow from it. The President and his supporters say he has acted within the constitution, the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters say he hasn’t.

“So we are at an impasse. The only way through that could be to go via the courts. But if that course is followed then the court must decide quickly. Unlike in the case of the 2015 elections petition which is still languishing.

“Speaking personally I think it would have been better for the president to have chosen a name from one of the 3 lists. But he clearly felt that was not possible,” Quinn said.

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