What did the AFC say privately about the Gecom appointment?

Dear Editor,

What did the top brass of the AFC say privately about President Granger’s unilateral appointment of 84-year-old Judge Patterson to the chairmanship of Gecom?

Dominic Gaskin said that the decision was entirely the President’s. He also said the Constitution provided for a preferred approach but also for a unilateral appointment approach.

With all due respect to Mr Gaskin, the language of the article is simple and unambiguous. Only failure to submit a list can trigger the clause to take a unilateral approach. Mr Gaskin is reading something into the phrase, “the list of names must not be unacceptable”. That something, whatever the reasoning, could never be equated to failure to submit a list.

The Constitution expects a president to act reasonably, not arbitrarily or subjectively. If this were not so, then any president could reject all the names, give no reason for the rejections, and then claim the Constitution granted him the power to act unilaterally. If this was what the Constitution intended, the Charles Dickens dictum, “the law is an ass” would have a mighty ring of truth.

I believe Chief Justice George pored over the meaning of these crucial words in the Constitution, and tried to divine the intent of the framers and purpose of the article before finally in wisdom befitting a Solomon said a president should state the reasons for each name rejected. The Guyanese public know how President Granger responded: “The Chief Justice has her interpretation, I have mine”. The President acted on his interpretation and made the appointment unilaterally.

Cathy Hughes feels that enough is not being done to tackle the Opposition Leader’s rendering of a racial narrative to the citizenry that she feels is meant to instil fear in the populace. Mrs Hughes chose to remain silent on the issue of whether the President acted constitutionally in making the unilateral appointment. She chose instead to accuse the Opposition Leader of presenting a “racial narrative”. For her, to oppose the unilateral appointment is to engage in racial politics. Her message: Do not oppose the unilateral appointment.

She should know that the coalition government has accomplished a rare feat in two years of power (something unusual for any government). They have sharpened and deepened racial divisions in this country such as has not been seen since 1964. The next elections will be a racial grudge match, thanks to the PNC for emasculating the AFC and moving towards a total and complete takeover of the state. This is not the Opposition Leader’s doing. It is the coalition government’s doing. Mrs Hughes cannot plead ignorance of the depth of distrust embedded in this society, all due to rigged elections for over two decades in Guyanese society. The sheer scale of the rigging (PNC’s popular support stood at around 40% but they always announced “winning” more than two-thirds of the vote) boggles the mind, and defines the PNC in terms of its capacity and willingness to do what it takes to hold on to power.

So now Mrs Hughes wants to pretend that appointing an alleged PNC closet member to chair Gecom is a non-threatening act that all of society should feel comfortable with. Has society forgotten the notoriety of Judge Bollers?

David Patterson sounded like my Sunday school pastor, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. He said, “If we when in opposition would not approve of a unilateral appointment, why are we accepting it now?” He unwittingly conceded that President Granger committed an unconstitutional act.

All of this was revealed in the unidentified release – not Wikileaks ‒ of private emails.  This is to say nothing about what the unscrupulous leaders, Trotman and Ramjattan did, men who privately instructed President Granger to go ahead and make the unilateral appointment (an unconstitutional act) but then publicly denied it.

Yours faithfully,
Mike Persaud

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