Some civil society bodies not opposition having difficulty finding candidates

Dear Editor,

I have observed that the KN reporter, Brushell Blackman, has once again misled the public and in this case, he appears to have also misled the President of this country.

In two articles published in the Kaieteur News on Thursday, March 30, 2017, and again on Friday March 31, Mr Blackman has misinformed the public stating that (1) the “PPPC will be submitting a list by the end of this week” and that (2) the opposition “found it difficult to find candidates who could confirm to the criteria set out by President David Granger”.

The March 31st article provided the President’s response to the misinformation published on March 30. The article states that “the Head of State said that if the opposition is unable to find suitable candidates that satisfy those criteria, he is willing to sit down and have discussions with the Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.”

For the public record, at the Parliamentary Opposition press conference on Wednesday March 29, 2017 where Member of Parliament Bishop Edghill and I were present, I stated in my opening remarks (and these are from my notes used at the press conference)

“Follow up on Gecom

“Following the consultations with civil society bodies last week with the Leader of the Opposition, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition has been receiving nominations in keeping with the deadline of March 27th. Some organizations are still to submit claiming the difficulties of finding persons who can fulfill the criteria established by the President. Even names that have been received may not fulfill all the criteria. And therefore the position of the Parliamentary opposition as expounded by the Leader of the Opposition is that the President has gone beyond the constitution and placed undue restrictions on the selection of the position of chairperson which the constitution itself did not contemplate. The focus of the constitution was on the integrity and independence of the post holder.”

In the question period, I was asked how many nominations we had received. I stated that we had received submissions from about 14-15 civil society bodies, and, some had asked for more time, while others said they were having difficulties finding candidates who could fulfil all the criteria. I gave an example of one of criteria which calls for someone with wide electoral knowledge and judicial experience.

Mr Blackman began his question by saying that the opposition was having difficulties finding a suitable candidate and l immediately corrected him and so did Bishop Edghill. I repeated that l did not say the opposition was having difficulties but some civil society bodies had indicated they were having difficulties, whilst others had made nominations. He was corrected twice during the press conference on this issue.

It is in this context that l pointed out that some of the civil society bodies had said during last week’s consultation that “Jesus may not be able to fulfil the criteria”. At which point, Bishop Edghill quickly pointed it was not him who had said that but some of the other religious leaders.

In response to a question from Mr Blackman about the submission of the list, l stated that we would be examining the submissions of the civil society bodies by the end of this week and subsequently make our decision. I never said we would submit a list to the President by the “end of this week”. I did say we would be submitting six more names to the President as we had previously stated at an earlier press conference.

The same reporter asked if the President rejected that list what would we do? Bishop Edghill repeated what the Leader of the Opposition had stated at a recent press conference that “we would not speculate, we would cross that bridge when we came to it”.

I also reminded the media that the Leader of the Opposition had already submitted a list in compliance with the constitution, and would be submitting another six names as requested by the President.

The fact that the Editor-in-Chief of the Kaieteur News, Mr Adam Harris, was also present throughout the press conference, and allowed information to be published which he knew was not true, makes one doubt once again the credibility of this newspaper.

Yours faithfully,

Gail Teixeira, MP

Chief Whip for the Parliamentary Opposition

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