Govt, opposition for second meet today

─ opposition submits list of nominees for GECOM Chair  

DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 8, 2019

Representatives of the government and the opposition are scheduled to meet again today to discuss the nominations for the position of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

According to the Ministry of the Presidency, the meeting follows last Thursday’s (July 4) meeting between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at the Ministry of the Presidency where initial discussions on the subject began following the recent ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“Today’s meeting is in keeping with the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling which said the two sides [Government and Opposition] should work together to produce a list of persons to be considered for the post,” the release stated.

The government will be represented by Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan; Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

Opposition representatives are Chief Whip of the PPP/C, Gail Teixeira, Juan Edghill (MP) and Anil Nandlall (MP). The two teams will meet regularly to ‘hammer out’ the names of persons to arrive at a list of six. This list will then have to be submitted by the Leader of the Opposition to President Granger who will then choose one person to be named as GECOM Chair.

At a press briefing, following the July 4 meeting, President Granger told the media that the discussion with the opposition leader was focused on the means to be adopted for the nomination and appointment of a Chairman of the Elections Commission.

The president has repeatedly said that unless and until the chairman is appointed, the work of the commission will not be able to move ahead as quickly as possible.

“We are also bound now by the interpretation of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which has spoken twice on the issue of elections, and it was really an obedience to that last injunction by that court that I decided to meet the Leader of the Opposition to decide on a way forward, and this has been done,” he said.

On Thursday last, President Granger iterated that the Leader of the Opposition is free to present the names that have already been submitted on the past three lists and he has also agreed to confirm that those persons are still willing to have their names forwarded.

On Saturday, the opposition re-submitted a list of eleven names to the president for consideration for the appointment of a new chairman.

Among the  nominees are: Conservationist, Annette Arjoon-Martins; retired Justice of Appeal, B.S Roy; Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Gerry Gouveia; retired Major General, Joseph Singh; Attorney-at-Law, Kashir Khan; former Senior Magistrate, Krishnadatt Persaud; conflict resolution specialist, Lawrence Latchmansingh; retired Major General, Norman McLean; Onesi La Fleur, PSC executive Ramesh Dookhoo; and retired Puisne Judge, William Ramlall.

Also, at the July 4 press briefing, the Head of State clarified that the Constitution of Guyana stipulates the requirements of who is ‘fit and proper’ to be selected for the position of the Chairman of GECOM.