Destructive politics has seeped into the matter of the GECOM Chairman

Dear Editor,

This opportunity is taken to call on society to focus attention to Article 161 (2) of the Guyana Constitution that attends to the matter of the appointment of the GECOM chairman and the ruling handed down by acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on this matter.

Of particular concern is the statement of Anil Nandlall “that Mr. Justice Patterson cannot be independent or appear to be independent or impartial” given that among other things he was a pall bearer at Desmond Hoyte’s funeral, is a member of a PNC facebook group, worked with the David Granger/Moses Nagamootoo Government, etc.

Article 147 of the Guyana Constitution protects the right to freedom of association and the ridiculousness of Nandlall’s claim, when he should know better, is demonstrating that at this moment in our history while the handling of the issue may give raise to justifiable concern, the raw naked opportunistic and destructive politics seeping into the matter could be of disservice to the nation. Handling this issue from the latter approach has the potential of creating fear and whipping up unease in the society at a level where it is not so deserving.

On the lists that were submitted by the Leader of the Opposition are persons who served under the APNU+AFC, PPP/C and other administrations. In the area of allegiance names were also submitted where some loyalty, politics and racial divisiveness have been publicly demonstrated over the years and well known. Given Nandlall’s expressed concerns their names should have been exempted from the lists and they would not have met the criteria for selection. Their ineligibility would be much stronger than Patterson yet the Leader of the Opposition found them worthy to be placed on the lists for consideration and appointment.

This is a small society where persons are likely to interact at various levels and would likely have encountered each other in their life’s journey. At the rate the discussions and qualifying conditions for appointment as GECOM Chairman are going nobody would be able to serve their country. Both sides, opposition and government, risk eliminating qualified and competent people from serving, going down this path.

We are a nation of a small population and a smaller number of top professionals. Whereas Nandlall has taken the issue to the ridiculous President Granger needs to be reminded that in rejecting the eighteen (18) names of leaders, at various levels of society, submitted for his selection, all of whom were deemed not fit and proper, further serves to marginalise our limited human resources from public service, for among these persons could have been found one fitting to serve.

Exercising the option permitted in the Constitution to select without consensus that is so crucial at this point in our society, given the people’s mandate to the APNU+AFC to pursue such a path after the spiteful, destructive, exclusionary politics of Bharrat Jagdeo, the environment has been created for mistrust and opportunistic politics. This would take us further back into ethnic cleavages and political encampment and those who stand to suffer are the masses.

Yours faithfully,

Lincoln Lewis.

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