“I am not a passive observer to the process; I am an active participant”-President Granger
–ignoring ruling of CCJ could result in gridlock in selecting new GECOM Chairman
—House-to-house registration will ensure credible voters’ list
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, July 20, 2019
President David Granger has reiterated his commitment to having credible elections as soon as possible. However, the Head of State said this cannot be done without the selection of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
In doing so, the President made it clear that he is intent on following the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in selecting the GECOM chairman. That is by having a consensual process that must involve the President. This he said is being done via working groups representing both the government and opposition and face-to-face meetings with himself and the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo.
“The CCJ made it clear that it is not altering the constitution; it is interpreting the constitution by suggesting that we move away from unilateralism which is why the appointment of Justice Patterson was flawed towards concensualism. This means, that if the President of Guyana has a role to play in the selection of the chairman, the process would be faster and both sides would be happier,” he said.
President Granger was at the time being interviewed by Ariana Gordon, the Deputy Director of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Public Information and Press Service Unit.
“I am not a passive participant, I am not a passive observer to the process, I am an active participant in the process and this what I have been trying to do and this is what I have been trying to get the opposition to understand that I cannot simply just sit and wait for them to send the list because this is what failed in the past and that is what forced me to rely on the Proviso in the constitution, empowering me to appoint a chairman if the list submitted by the leader of the opposition was not in accordance with the constitution,” he underscored.
Ignoring the ruling of the CCJ the Head of State said is “a recipe for gridlock.” Consensualism the President stressed is something the CJJ saw as important and wanted to ensure takes place. For this to happen, he highlighted that there must be a spirit of compromise, acceptance of the role of the President in the selection of nominees for the list and both sides presenting a list that is not unacceptable to the President.
“I believe the ruling by the CCJ is quite useful, quite functional and it will lead to an early conclusion of this process. There is no way that the removal of the President’s role in the hammering out of the list could result in a consensual outcome that is acceptable. It would be spurious if the opposition insists on unilaterally crafting that list. The CCJ’s ruling makes it impossible for that to occur
The government he pointed out is acting correctly and in good faith despite what is being claimed by the opposition. The President noted that he would not have met with the opposition six times in three weeks unless he was interested in a favourable outcome for both sides. “It is misleading to the public; it is misleading to the people who are looking forward to having swift and credible elections to say that we [the government] are not acting in good faith,” he stated.
President Granger noted that he would like to see the opposition sitting with the government and hammering out the list, something he has been trying to accomplish since July 12.
“I have been fully compliant with the orders handed down by the CCJ and it is my firm conviction that the consequential orders passed by the CCJ would result in an outcome which would benefit the Guyanese people as a whole by having clean elections in a short a time as possible.”
Thus far during the selection process by the working groups, four names were found acceptable to the President. Two additional names must be selected following a similar process before a formal list is submitted to the President.
The Head of State also noted the need for a credible list before proceeding to elections. He said the government accepts that too many persons on the list might be ineligible and believes that many others who are eligible are not on the list.
“For these reasons, I have called and my party the People’s National Congress Reform, the partnership APNU and the Coalition APNU+AFC have all called for house-to-house registration. I have seen in the newspapers the Elections Commission – not on my prompting – will embark on house-to-house registration from July 20. These are not my doings; these are the doings of the Elections Commission and I support them. We must have a clean and credible list.”
President Granger reiterated that only the “Elections Commission has the authority to run the elections” and he will abide the advice of the Commission with regards to the preparation of the list and date to call the elections.