I wish to refer to the news item `Berbice Bar hammers President over GECOM’ (SN October 24, 2017).
Firstly, there is no such Association called the Berbice Bar Association and your publisher should have had that verified before printing any statement. It speaks to good journalism.
Secondly…as a lawyer in Berbice I take umbrage to any claim by any lawyer who professes to speak for me on any matter, especially when I have never been consulted on it . Adrian Anamayah spoke (wrote) for himself and other lawyers who so wanted him to but he had no authority and never will have any to speak for me. He should be asked by your paper to retract the statement or you should do it.
Thirdly…if Adrian Anamayah intended to speak for lawyers in Berbice he should have consulted the lawyers. He has never spoken to me about any publication on the appointment of the GECOM chairman. If, as I presume, he spoke of a body representing lawyers in Berbice then he ought to know that the lawyers in Berbice have not met as a body in over one year and everything about a Lawyers’ Association, in Berbice, seems to be dead.
Fourthly, Editor I will ask that you publish the section of the constitution that Adrian Anamayah referred to and then let s us all offer views. Adrian Anamayah made a feeble attempt to present Article 161 to the readers but I feel his was a deliberate act to create the impression that the President acted contrary to the constitution. He is referring to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution. Article 161 (2) reads…”subject to the provisions of paragraph (4), the Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a Judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Common-wealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President, from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the president, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly:
Provided that if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list as provided for, the President shall appoint a person who holds or has held office as a judge of a court having un-limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge.”
Paragraph 4 simply says, The person should not be an Alien.
Now, Editor, having printed Article 161 (2) in its entirety, I wish to draw to the attention of all, especially Adrian Anamayah, who is a PPP member of Parliament, that the lines in bold may have missed his political eye. The Leader of the Opposition was supposed to present a list of six persons which list should be not unacceptable (two negatives=one positive) The list should be acceptable to the president. Now three lists were presented to His Excellency and he, The President deemed them all unacceptable. The second paragraph of Article 161 (2) says…”Provided that if the Leader of the opposition fails to submit a list as provided for, the President shall appoint a person…..”—The President then selected a Chairman.
Let’s hear from all the critics now.
I will suggest that if there is any issue with what the President did it is with the rejection of the lists not with the selection of a Chairman. One may ask why were 18 persons deemed ‘not fit and proper’ by the President but it is clear that His Excellency deemed the three lists as unacceptable, as the Constitution allows and that is his and his right alone.