The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Monday labelled the leaking of an email from its chairman Khemraj Ramjattan to executives on the selection of a GECOM chairman as “political mischief”.
The party has faced internal and external attacks over its support for President David Granger’s unilateral appointment on October 19 of retired justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Leading the internal criticism of its leaders has been the AFC-Canada which has since withdrawn support for the party following the AFC’s support for the Patterson selection. One of the members of the Canada branch, Laurence Williams, on November 17 circulated part of Ramjattan’s email of October 22. The release of the email was intended to show that AFC leaders had provided advice to Granger that he could make a unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman following the submission of the second list of names by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. Up to November 17, the AFC had said that it was not consulted on the appointment of Justice Patterson but it did not disclose that its two main leaders had advised the President that he could make a unilateral appointment
In its statement on Monday, the AFC first cast doubt on the authenticity of the email but later on in the statement acknowledged that it was genuine.
The statement on Monday said that the AC “notes the circulation of documents on social media purporting to be internal emails of the party. The AFC notes the political mischief being attempted in this regard by political opponents. While there is need for confidentiality in discussions from time to time the party is confident in and proud of its track record of open, frank and forthright discussion on issues and as the email in question confirms, robust internal exchange of information and ideas on critical matters.
“The party notes that this particular exchange occurred after the second list of candidates for GECOM Chairman was presented to President David Granger and only with reference to the powers of the President to make an appointment outside of a submitted list if he deemed such a list to be unacceptable.
“President Granger subsequently requested that a third list be presented by the Opposition Leader and it was only after such a list was provided that President Granger, acted in his own deliberate judgement and within the provision of the constitution.
“The party restates its position, and the email confirms this, that it was not consulted on the appointment of Justice James Patterson as GECOM Chairman”.
The AFC’s reference to the second list suggests that their leaders’ advice to Granger pertained only to the names on that one and not the ones on the first list. A third list was submitted by Jagdeo after Granger rejected the second list.
Though the AFC is insisting that it was not consulted on the selection of Patterson, critics have hammered it for advising the President on a unilateral appointment and not disclosing this to the public.