Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo today said that he is willing to prepare and submit another list of nominees for the post of Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) if he is asked by President David Granger to do so.
Jagdeo made the comment ahead of a planned consultation between himself and President Granger at State House on Monday, June 12th.
The Opposition Leader believes that there are three possibilities that could arise, but he is not prepared to discuss his position prior to attending the meeting, not even with party members.
He told reporters at his office on Thursday that if the President does request another list he will have to comply in keeping with constitutional requirements for filling of the vacancy.
But Mr. Jagdeo believes that finding another six names of appropriate persons to nominate, after completing this exercise twice in the past, will be a difficult task.
“I will express this difficulty to the President but I have no choice but to submit another list if he asks for one,” Jagdeo said.
The Opposition Leader said another possibility is that the Presidents could use the occasion to inform him that he would move ahead with the appointment of someone of his choice.
Such a move, Jagdeo said, will be unlawful and unconstitutional and will be rejected by the opposition People’s Progressive Party.
The President in a television interview a few months back, assured that whoever is chosen as Chairman will be someone who shares the confidence and support of both the President and the Opposition Leader.
Jagdeo said it is likely that the Head of State will use the meeting to discuss the issue and seek to find a way to work with him to find someone who is fitting to be appointed to the post in keeping with the President’s criteria.
He said whatever is the outcome, it is an issue that needs to be addressed with urgency as Guyana prepares for both local and general elections in the not so distant future.
Jagdeo told reporters that at this point is he “taking the President at face value” that he is serious and willing to work in collaboration to appoint a GECOM Chair.
“This is why I will attend the meeting… there is a lot of speculation of what I will say but I have not discussed with anyone what my position will be… I do not conduct negotiations of sensitive issues in media,” he added.
After the first list had been rejected on Constitutional grounds, the Head of State and Mr. Jagdeo engaged in a period of consultations to ensure that there was a clear understanding of the requirements. President Granger then provided clear criteria in anticipation of the submission of a new list.
But the second list of nominees still did not find favour with the President who rejected that list but on this occasion, did not ask for a third list. He invited Jagdeo to meet with him at State House on Monday.