Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has offered a no objection to the appointment of four persons, including three attorneys, as members of the Integrity Commission.
By way of letter, Jagdeo on Wednesday indicated to President David Granger that he had no objection to the appointments of attorney Kumar Doraisami, attorney Thandi McAllister, attorney Rosemary Benjamin-Noble and Pandit Rabindranauth Persaud.
The letter, which was released to the media, states, “I offer no objection to the four (4) persons whom you have identified for appointment to the Integrity Commission in accordance with section 3 (4) of the Integrity Commission Act….”
“I consider the totality of our engagement on this issue to be in satisfaction of the requirements of “consultation” as contemplated by the letter and spirit of section 3 (4) of the Integrity Commission Act…,” he added.
Granger had identified the quartet to Jagdeo in correspondence on January 2nd. In that letter, he invited Jagdeo to consult with him on the appointment of the Integrity Commission in accordance with Section 3 of the Integrity Commis-sion Act.
He then listed the names that have been recommended and invited Jagdeo to a meeting scheduled for the following day. Following that meeting Jagdeo asked Granger for one month to deal with this and two other matters, which included the appointments of a Chancellor and Chief Justice.
Jagdeo explained to reporters yesterday that these appointments did not require his agreement, just consultation. “The president could have moved ahead,” he said.
Under the former PPP/C government, the Integrity Commission had not functioned properly since early 2006, when its then Chairman resigned. It has taken almost three years of the APNU+AFC government in office to finalise the appointments.
In November last year, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Alliance for Change (AFC) had called on the government, of which it is part, to “establish the Integrity Commission as a matter of urgent national priority.” The call was issued in a statement following the meeting of the NEC.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, the highest ranked AFC member in the coalition government, as had responsibility for governance issues such as the Integrity Commission and the Code of Conduct for government officials. Both of these were to be put in place within months of the APNU+AFC government coming into office in May, 2015.
The Integrity Commission Act makes provisions for the establishment of a commission to be known as the Integrity Commission, which shall consist of a chairman and not less than two nor more than four other members.
The Chairman, it states, shall be a person who is or who was, or who is qualified to be, appointed as, a Puisne Judge of the High Court or any other fit and proper person. “The other members shall be appointed from among persons appearing to the President to be qualified as having had experience of, and shown capacity in, law, administration of justice, public administration, social service, finance or accountancy or any other discipline. The chairman and other members shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Minority Leader,” the Act further states.
The aim of the Act is to secure the integrity of persons in public life by applying certain measures to create, maintain and strengthen standards of conduct for the correct, honourable and proper fulfillment of public functions.
Doraisami is a former land court judge and President of the Guyana Association of Legal Practitioners; McAllister is a member of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Board and the 3rd Vice-President of the Guyana Football Federation; Persaud is a former Director of the National Commission for Family; and Benjamin-Noble, the former deputy chairperson of the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) and Special Land Use Committee (SLUC) Secretary, is the senior Legal & Compliance Manager at Citizens Bank.