The news that President David Granger has asked the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jadgeo to submit another list of nominees for the post of Gecom Chairman is most welcome. It shows that we can reset the button for the good of Guyana consistent with the Constitution of Guyana.
The principal objective of our political system (Article 13) requires us to work together in the management and decision-making processes of the state on matters that impact our wellbeing. Seeking to fill the appointment of chairman should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
And where the Constitution at Article 161 (2) paragraph 1 requires of the Leader of the Opposition to submit names of nominees that fall within the three criteria, with which the office holder is expected to comply. The three are: 1) a person who holds or held office as a judge in any part of the Commonwealth; 2) is eligible to be a judge; and 3) any other fit and proper person.
Article 161 (2) paragraph 2 gives the authority to the President to appoint a judge (past or present) after he has exhausted the search under paragraph 1. In fact, the Constitution is specific in saying that the person who can be appointed must only have the qualification as a judge (past or present). This precludes the President from appointing anyone he feels he can.
The Constitution in the first instance (at para 1) gives the President and Leader of the Opposition wide latitude to look across the society, identifying, and examining persons coming from an array of disciplines.
The framers of this Constitution understood the society we are dealing with by putting in place a system which gives both the sitting government and opposition an opportunity to objectively assess all the possible candidates, and when they both fail, to give one office holder, that is the President, one opportunity with only one choice, which is a judge (past or present).
Any failure on the part of President and Leader of the Opposition to arrive at a consensual candidate for the chairmanship of Gecom will be an indictment of their leadership.
Taking the time to objectively examine the Constitution it would reveal a universal standard has been set for us to operate by, and if we comply, lots of the conflicts and wastage of taxpayers’ money can be avoided. Equally, universal compliance with this instrument can result in us peacefully co-existing and having our fair share of the nation’s pie.