Stabroek News: Page One Comment

President David Granger has made a disastrous decision by unilaterally appointing a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission. In acting unilaterally the President has shredded to pieces what had been an involved engagement with the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo. The unilateral appointment has also defenestrated the Carter-Price formula for the selection of the Chairman which had been followed for the 1992 general elections onwards.

The President’s decision has poisoned the political climate as evidenced by the PPP/C’s declaration yesterday  of non-co-operation. It will also taint the manner in which the public perceives the conduct of the new Chairman, Justice James Patterson. He will be seen to be beholden to the President. This will cast a pall over election preparations.

Aside from the fact that at 84 the rigours of GECOM will be a severe challenge for Justice Patterson, there is also the prospect that this could necessitate a replacement in the period approaching elections and thereby presenting a prospect for a delay.

Further, the President cannot be oblivious to the public skepticism that the party he leads, the PNCR, which unashamedly rigged general elections in 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985, is yet to establish its commitment to electoral democracy.

For all these reasons and more the unilateral selection of a Chairman by the President is a monumental blunder which must be mitigated.


PM speaking in parliament

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo yesterday called on the Opposition to put to an end their dilatory tactic because it violates the standing order of the National Assembly.                    

Stop embarrassing Chinese gov’t – T&T PM

(Trinidad Guardian) Stop embarrassing the Chinese government and people! That was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s rebuke to the Opposition in Parliament yesterday, after being pressed on the change of plans for his China trip.

Ramjattan, Trotman advised president he could unilaterally appoint Gecom chairman

Despite the AFC’s claim that it was not involved in the selection of a Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) Chairman, its two senior leaders, Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman, had advised President David Granger that he could utilise the constitutional proviso and make a unilateral appointment.

House approves over $8B for constitutional bodies

The National Assembly last evening approved over $8 billion in total budgetary allocations for 16 constitutional agencies even as the government’s failure to properly account for cuts to requested expenditure drew criticism.

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Speaker reprimands opposition MPs for ‘exceptional parliamentary misconduct’

Opposition MPs were yesterday reprimanded by Speaker Dr Barton Scotland for their raucous behaviour on November 2nd, when they staged a protest that drowned out most of President David Granger’s address to the National Assembly.

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