President made political decision on Gecom chairman, I don’t have a problem with that

Dear Editor,

Unlike detractors and critics, I applaud President Granger for making the appointment of a chairman for Gecom. It was long overdue and should have been done over six months ago. Gecom must now begin the task at hand in preparing for local and general elections by updating the electoral list or re-registering everyone.

The process of appointing a Gecom chair has been politicized from the inception, and the President made a political decision in keeping with the words, as he interpreted them, as stated in the Burnham constitution appointing someone in whom he, his party, and its supporters have utmost confidence. That is what politics is all about as I learnt during my political studies up to the PhD level  — act in the interests of your constituents and not in the interests of your political opponents. Which political scientists would say otherwise? Only a political idiot would make an appointment not in his or her party interests. Well done Mr President! Did the opposition really expect the President to choose someone nominated by it for such an important election in 2020 when control over oil revenues would be at stake? Would the opposition have appointed someone in whom it lacks confidence to oversee an election that would not be advantageous to it? Was he not supposed to appoint someone who would give his party an advantage (however defined)? All political actors act in their own self interests (party and constituency) and President Granger would not act any differently. Presidents Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan, Jagdeo, and Ramotar were expected to take decisions in the interests of their constituents. If they failed to act accordingly, then they were/are politically naive.

There are many critics of the President’s appointment as is to be expected. Regardless of who he had selected, critics would have lambasted the President for his choice casting aspersions about having a hidden agenda. When the opposition made nominations, did it have an agenda? Critics must be fair and balanced in their assessments and or critiques.

I may not like the President ‘s appointee and I may feel the President has violated the spirit of the agreement in place on such an important appointment (selecting from the opposition lists) for a constitutional position. But the appointment is that of the President and he must make a decision that his party and its supporters would trust. If the opposition fails to consult with its supporters in its nominations especially when it was in government, whose fault is it?

The President has publicly indicated he lacks confidence in the 18 nominees submitted by the Opposition Leader. The Chief Justice gave him an opening to appoint someone outside of the list in her interpretation of the constitution. And the President acted accordingly.

Opponents have options available to them in rejecting or criticing or challenging the appointment. While that process is being played out, Gecom should resume its election preparatory work so we can have elections in a timely fashion that would accord with probity.

Yours faithfully

Vishnu Bisram

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