President David Granger yesterday unilaterally chose retired justice James Patterson, 84, to be Chairman of GECOM, rejecting a third list that had been submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and plunging the country into its worst political crisis since APNU+AFC came to power in 2015.
Patterson was last night sworn in as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) hours after he was first contacted by Granger and just after Jagdeo declared a campaign of non-cooperation with the government over the decision. It would appear that the hasty swearing in was held to avoid a legal challenge. Patterson will be 87 when the next general elections are due in 2020.
“Being desirous of fulfilling the requirements of the constitution and given the need to appoint a Chairman …and in light of the failure of the Leader of the Opposition to present me with a list that was not unacceptable I have decided that it would be in the public’s interest to resort to the proviso in the Constitution Article 161 (2) which permits the President….