GUYANA-Opposition Leader warns of possible legal action as President rejects new list for GECOM


President David Granger says Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo must submit a new list of names of persons considered to be “fit and proper” for appointment to the chairmanship of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM).

But Jagdeo has hinted at “litigation and other consequences for which the President will be responsible” should he proceed to unilaterally select someone of his choice for the post to replace Dr.  Steve Surujball, who resigned last November.

Jagdeo and Granger
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo (Left) and President David Granger (Right)

Jagdeo in a statement said that he had received a letter from President Granger on Friday informing him that the list of six persons he had submitted on May 2 to fill the post was “unacceptable”..

“Significantly, the letter does not indicate what next steps, if any the President requires to be taken,” Jagdeo said.

The opposition had submitted the names of Retired Justice of Appeal B.S Roy, Retired Justice William Ramlall; Attorney-at-law and a former Magistrate, Ms. Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorney-at-Law, Kashir Khan;  Attorney-at-law, Nadia Sagar and businessman, Gerald Gouveia.

Jagdeo said he had noted “with deep concern the cavalier and callous manner in which the President continues to express no confidence in and denigrate the professional reputation, integrity and competence of Guyanese of high calibre who have rendered sterling contributions to the development of our country and in service to our people and who have distinguished themselves in their individual endeavours and pursuits.

“We reiterate our apprehension that the President is bent on unilaterally selecting a person of his choice in violation of the letter and spirit of Article 161 (2) of the Constitution and indeed, the Carter Formula. The Leader of the Opposition hereby assures that should the President proceed along this unconstitutional, undemocratic and diabolical path there will be litigation and other consequences for which the President will be responsible,’ Jagdeo added.

But speaking to reporters on Friday night, President Granger said that the Opposition Leader must now submit a new list adding “nothing is ever settled until it is settled right and he has to get it right”.

Granger said he is prepared to work with Jagdeo “for as long as it takes to have somebody selected who fits the criteria, satisfies the Constitution and is one that the people of Guyana could be happy with.

“I’m prepared to work with the Leader of the Opposition for as long as it takes, but I’m not going to give the people of Guyana the appointment of a person, who is not fit and proper in accordance with the Constitution or criteria, which have been laid out.”

Granger also said that the person to be appointed “will not be an activist in any form and “that person should not have any political affiliation or should not belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden.”

Noting that a Chairman needs to be appointed as Local Government Elections (LGE) are imminent and in preparation for General Elections, President Granger said, “The Leader of the Opposition must do what the Constitution requires him to do… and he has not done that as yet.”

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