Chairman of the Guyana Elections Com-mission, retired Justice James Patterson has debunked claims by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall that he is still employed as an advisor to the Attorney General.
“I have spoken definitively on it and I am not equivocating. I can only speak the truth and that is I submitted my resignation ages ago, retroactive even, just to make it doubly sure to the President,” Patterson told Stabroek News yesterday.
He added, “I have not attended any meetings since my appointment and I cannot. Can I be clearer than that?”
Nandlall sent out a press release and took to social media yesterday to make the claim that Patterson was still employed as an advisor to the AG.
The premise of his argument he says is a statement by Attorney General Basil Williams during the recent Budget estimates that Patterson continues to be one of five advisors.
“On the 12th day of December, 2017, in the Committee of Supply, as a result of questions which I posed to the Attorney General, the Attorney General disclosed that retired Justice James Patterson, the Chairman of the Elections Commission, continues to be one of his five advisors who is still being paid by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and indeed, his continued remuneration has been budgeted for in the 2018 Budget Estimates of that Ministry,” he wrote.
“The public would note that this disclosure comes from no other than the principal legal advisor of the Government of Guyana and it was made publicly and forms part of the public record of the National Assembly. Therefore, no other than the Attorney General of Guyana, himself, has publicly admitted that the Chairman of GECOM is currently, in flagrant violation of Article 161 (1) of the Constitution and that the Attorney General himself is complicit in that violation by continuing to employ him and budget for his continuing employment. The AG further compounds the issue by disclosing that in light of his recent appointment as the Chairman of GECOM, he is not sure whether Mr. Justice Patterson will continue to part of his advisory team! Clearly, it has not dawned upon the AG and indeed the Government that Chairman of GECOM is constitutionally, a full time position,” he added.
But Williams yesterday said that Nandlall’s claims are not only lies but nonsensical. “That is a lie and the evidence is there in the Hansard. Why listen to that man?” he asked.
He added that he would not waste time on Nandall’s claims as he is backed by public records.
For Patterson, the public can access the truth by looking at his resignation documents but he just wants to publicly clear the air so that everyone knows he is only employed as Chairman of GECOM.
“It is not true, I sent in my resignation ages ago and the President has my resignation ages ago,” he stressed.
The constitution prohibits the GECOM Chairman from holding any other form of employment.