Talks on new GECOM Chair continue

— Govt and Opposition’s teams meet today

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Government and Opposition are meeting again today to continue discussions on the nominees for the position of Chairman of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

His Excellency, President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Bharrat Jagdeo met on Tuesday, after which a joint statement was issued indicating their agreement to continue talks.

His Excellency, President David Granger with Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harman, following his meeting with the Leader of the Opposition.

The president was accompanied by Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, while Member of Parliament, Hon. Irfaan Ali accompanied the leader of the opposition.

Following a productive meeting, it was agreed that from the list of five names shortlisted by the working group, four were found acceptable to the president; and as part of the process, the two names suggested by the president and others that may be necessary will be discussed further.

The talks began following the recent ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The court had advised that the president and the opposition leader arrive at a consensual list of six during a process of consultation before the formal submission is made by the Opposition Leader to the President, in accordance with the Constitution.

A team was assembled to select ‘hammer out’ the nominees for the position of the GECOM Chairman. Minister of Public Security, Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan; Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence and Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon represented the government in this process. Opposition representatives were Hon. Gail Teixeira, Member of Parliament, and Hon. Anil Nandlall, Member of Parliament.

The teams met three times and had shortlisted 13 names from a total of 19 submitted before their engagement. However, they did not come to a consensus on the narrowing down of the list, and it was referred back to the president and the opposition leader.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the president said the parties had agreed that a new working group will continue the process.

Also, following the ruling by the CCJ last Friday, President Granger had indicated that a Chairman of the Elections Commission could have been selected by Monday, July 15, if the opposition leader acted in a consensual manner and good faith.

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