Patterson’s lapse on Grenada CJ appointment is grounds for removal – PPP/C

Priya Manickchand

The parliamentary opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) yesterday declared that current Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) James Patterson should be fired for misleading President David Granger over his appointment in Grenada, where he had served as acting Chief Justice.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, PPP/C Member of Parliament (MP) Priya Manickchand repeatedly stressed that her party not only remains extremely outraged at the process through which Patterson was appointed but also about the “unsuitability of the gentleman himself.”

“If you are willing to lie on your CV …the president has good reason, good grounds, to unabashedly and unapologetically rescind this appointment based on the misrepresentations made to him,” she said.

Patterson was sworn in on October 19, two and a half hours after Granger met with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to inform him of the rejection of a third list of candidates that was submitted by him. At the time of the appointment, Granger identified Patterson as having held of the post of Chief Justice of Grenada, a claim he made in his Curriculum Vitae.

Patterson has since clarified that he was never substantive Chief Justice of Grenada but had acted in the position for a short period of time.

James Patterson

In a letter published in yesterday’s edition of Kaieteur News, Patterson, in responding to a report in that newspaper, further noted that his CV, which was “hastily written for the first time in three decades, did not contain the word “acting”…the omission was a lapsus calami, a trifling slip of the pen, and unworthy of further discourse. This storm in a teacup could best be described as de minimis.”

He went on to declare that he “abides by the old saying a half-truth is a whole lie.”

This expression is now being used by the opposition to question Patterson’s integrity.

“He said he didn’t update his CV for over three decades. The clear suggestion is that he had one that he submitted to Granger when asked for it. Thirty years ago [around 1987], when he was just finished acting CJ, he would have written “acting” as it would have been more fresh in his mind that he was acting. In the actual one he submitted, “acting” is left out. It appears, therefore, that either he remov-ed the word “acting” from this new CV, thereby deliberately lying or he lied from the beginning (30 years ago) when he put Chief Justice on his CV, knowing fully well he never was. In either event, he clearly has some serious character flaws going directly towards his integrity,” Manickchand, a practising lawyer, explain-ed.  “By his own words, his half-truth on his CV is a whole lie,” she added.

Manickchand also questioned Patterson’s decision to allow the questions about his tenure in Grenada to circulate for more than two weeks and to only respond to the very public queries once cornered by the press. “Mister Patterson has had a long time to respond but he has been refusing to answer questions from the press. He is no longer a private person. He has to answer to the public and he chose not to do so until now,” she noted.

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