GUYANA-POLITICS-Opposition party says President deliberately delaying appointment of GECOM chairman

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jun 26, CMC – The main opposition people’s Progressive Party (PPP) has again accused President David Granger of giving “lip service” to the efforts to find a chairman for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
President Granger has already disagreed with the two lists containing the names of persons whom the PPP has submitted to replace Dr. Steve Surujbally, who stepped down from the post last November.
But 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.
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.”
In a statement issued on Sunday night, the PPP said that “while the President gives lip service to constitutional compliance, he continues to insist that there be satisfaction of a set of criteria laid down by him – all of which are extra and ultra vires Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.
“The President also falsely asserted that his ‘criteria was never challenged’. This is farthest from the truth. Immediately after these ‘criteria’ were made known, it was pointed out that they were unconstitutional,” the PPP added.
The opposition party said that President Granger “conveniently refuses to remind himself that he consented to his name being put on a similar list on two separate occasions, obviously, believing that he was qualified to be on those lists. However, by his own ‘criteria’, he would be swiftly disqualified”.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has suggested that there be an amendment to the Constitution to allow for foreign nationals to be nominated to the post of GECOM chairman.
Jagdeo has said this was one of the propositions he had made to Granger when they met recently to discuss a way forward on the GECOM matter.
“Why not let us jointly amend that part of the Constitution, where we can submit now (names of foreign nationals for the post of GECOM Chair)? We can search around the world, so my list now can show people from around the world; some of the best people from around the world, so that is one of my suggestions.”
Jagdeo said Granger had not agreed with this suggestion, and had suggested as a counter-proposal that a search committee be established that could possibly comprise six respected individuals; three from each side.

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