The average reader may not realize that the ongoing television replays on statements made by then President Jagdeo in 2006 falsely give the impression that President Granger is saying nothing different today. The view that Dr Jagdeo has now changed his position or President Granger is saying the same thing Jagdeo said in 2006 is totally untrue and misleading. Clearly, these statements accrediting GECOM’s authority to determine when to hold elections were made in different contextual situations/circumstances that must be considered before any true conclusion can be elucidated.
To begin, in 2006 the GECOM chairman was mutually agreed on by the government and the opposition parties. His name was extracted from a single list of candidates submitted by the then Opposition Leader. In essence, both parties expressed confidence in the chairman and GECOM in the discharge of their individual and collective functions, professionally, with regards to elections. Yes, legal ramifications aside, it was with such confidence in GECOM, that then President Jagdeo made the statement being paraded on the television.
On the other hand, the current GECOM chairman was unilaterally hand-picked by President Granger as the ‘fit and proper’ person for the job. President Granger threw out the window three lists of names submitted by the Opposition Leader, basically saying that none of the names was fit and proper for the job. Therefore, the current chairman was not mutually agreed on by the political parties. Furthermore, since his appointment, the chairman has been partisan in his actions. Without any doubt, a case can be made that he has joined forces with the APNU+AFC in thwarting the rule of law and contributing to the current constitutional malaise. Given the current political context and partisan behaviour of the GECOM chairman, President Granger’s statement on the role of GECOM in determining the date for elections cannot and should not be seen in the same vein as that of President Jagdeo in 2006.
In closing, let me state that while the respective statements made by the two presidents appear to address the same phenomenon/issue, the context, circumstances and rationale which gave rise to such statements remain vastly different across the two eras. In essence, the television presentation/ad on a statement by Jagdeo in 2006 on the role of GECOM in setting elections is taken/paraded out of context and is thus, unfair and misleading.