PPP wants High Court to revoke appointment of Justice Patterson as GECOM Chairman.

In the court document seen by News Source, the PPP wants the Court to declare that the appointment of Justice Patterson "is in violation of and contrary to Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and is accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect".

PPP wants High Court to revoke appointment of Justice Patterson as GECOM Chairman.

The People’s Progressive Party through its Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha,  has moved to the Courts against the Attorney General in an effort to quash the President’s appointment of Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.

Attorney and PPP Member of Parliament, Anil Nandlall filed the Court Proceedings on his party’s behalf today.

In the court document seen by News Source, the PPP wants the Court to declare that the appointment of Justice Patterson “is in violation of and contrary to Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and is accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect”.

The party also wants the Court to declare that Justice Patterson “is not qualified” to be appointed Chairman of the Elections Commission because he was not among the 18 names submitted to the President by the Leader of the Opposition on three lists.

The President rejected all three of the lists.

The PPP through its Executive Secretary is asking the court to issue an order rescinding, revoking, canceling and setting aside the appointment of the retired Judge.

The party believes the President went against his own standards for the position when he chose Patterson because Patterson is also a Pastor and is therefore a “christian activist”.  Additionally, the party believes he is linked to the People’s National Congress because he was a pall bearer at the funeral of former President and Opposition Leader, Desmond Hoyte and he is also on the Facebook page of a group believed to be linked to the PNC.

The President has made it clear that his move to appoint Justice Patterson falls within the provisions of the Constitution.

 

SEE FULL COURT FILING BELOW

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE OF GUYANA

PROCEEDING FOR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER

2017-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA-

BETWEEN:

ZULFIKAR MUSTAPHA

Applicant

-And-

THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL

 

 

Respondent

 

 

 

FIXED DATE APPLICATION (URGENT MADE WITH NOTICE)

 

 

TO THE RESPONDENT

 

 

A LEGAL PROCEEDING HAS BEEN COMMENCED by the Applicant. The claim made by the Applicant is set out in the following pages.

 

THIS APPLICATION will come on for a hearing on ………      day of October, 2017, at …………. a.m./p.m, before the Honourable ………………………………..……………… at High Court, Georgetown, Demerara in Court No………………….

 

 

IF YOU WISH TO OPPOSE THIS APPLICATION, to receive notice of any step in the application or to be served with any documents in the application, you or an Attorney-at-Law acting for you must forthwith prepare an Affidavit in Defence in Form 10C prescribed by the Civil Procedure Rules 2016, serve it on the Applicant’s Attorney-at-Law or, where the Applicant does not have an Attorney-at-Law, serve it on the Applicant, and file it, with proof of service, at a Registry, AT LEAST (TWO or FOUR, as applicable) DAYS before the date fixed for the hearing of the application, and you or your Attorney-at-Law must appear at the hearing.

 

 

IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AT THE HEARING, AN ORDER OR JUDGMENT MAY BE GIVEN IN YOUR ABSENCE AND WITHOUT ANY FURTHER NOTICE TO YOU. IF YOU WISH TO OPPOSE THIS APPLICATION BUT ARE UNABLE TO PAY LEGAL FEES, LEGAL AID MAY BE AVAILABLE TO YOU BY CONTACTING A LOCAL LEGAL AID OFFICE.

 

 

THIS NOTICE OF APPLICATION has no validity unless it is served on you at least (seven or four, as applicable) days before the date fixed for the hearing of this application.

 

 

 

Date: 23rd day of October, 2017                            …………………………………………..                                                                                          Signature of Registry

Issued by:

 

Law Courts, Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana.

 

 

TO:      Attorney-General

95 Carmichael Street

Georgetown

Guyana.

 

 

APPLICATION

 

  1. The Applicant makes an application for:
  • a Declaration that the appointment of Revered Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson by His Excellency, President David Arthur Granger, on the 19th day of October, 2017, as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission is in violation of and contrary to Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and is accordingly unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect;
  • a Declaration that Revered Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson is not qualified to be appointed as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission in accordance with and in pursuance to Article 161(2) of the Constitution of Co-operative Republic of Guyana;
  • an Order directing His Excellency, President David Arthur Granger to choose a person from the eighteen (18) names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition;
  • an Order rescinding, revoking, cancelling and setting aside the appointment of Revered Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson by His Excellency, President David Arthur Granger, on the 19th day of October, 2017, as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission;
  • costs;
  • such other orders, directions or writs as it considers, just and as the circumstances warrant.

 

 

 

  1. The grounds of the application are:
  • the Applicant is a citizen of Guyana and the Executive Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, singularly, the largest mass based political movement in Guyana and the main Opposition Party in the National Assembly of the Parliament in Guyana;
  • the General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party holds the Constitutional post of Leader of the Opposition;
  • the Applicant is a registered elector and a member of the National Assembly being duly elected at the General Elections held on the 11th day of May, 2015;
  • upon a request from His Excellency, President David Arthur Granger, (hereinafter referred to as “the President”) on the 21st day of December, 2016, the Leader of the Opposition submitted a list of six (6) names to the President, for the President to appoint from that list, a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (hereinafter referred to as “GECOM”) in accordance with and in pursuance of the provisions of Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana (hereinafter referred to as “the Constitution”);
  • the names on the aforesaid list submitted by the Leader of the Opposition to the President were as follows:
  • Christopher Ram;
  • Norman McLean;
  • Ramesh Dookhoo;
  • Ryhaan Shaw;
  • Lawrence Latchmansingh;
  • James Rose.

 

  • that on the 5th day of January, 2017, the President informed the Leader of the Opposition that he found the said names to be, ‘unacceptable’;
  • that at a meeting held on the 1st day of March, 2017, the Leader of the Opposition requested of the President some of the qualities which the President would be looking for in a person whom he finds acceptable to be appointed the Chairman of GECOM;
  • by letter dated the 14th day of March, 2017, addressed to the Leader of the Opposition, the President enumerated a list of, ‘qualities of the Chairman of Guyana Elections Commission’;
  • that included in the aforesaid list provided by the President was the following qualities:

“1.       The candidate should be a person who is qualified to be a Judge of the High Court under Article 129 of the Constitution and under Section 5 of the High Court Act, Cap. 3:02;

  1. That person should have been an Attorney-at-Law for a minimum of 7 years, according to Section 5 of the High Court Act, Cap. 3:02;
  2. In the absence of 1 and 2 above ‘any other fit and proper person’ should be appointed according to Article 161(2) of the Constitution;

The categories of persons specified above are necessary because such persons should have the following characteristics:

  • That person is deemed to have wide electoral knowledge, capable of handling electoral matters because he or she is qualified to exercise unlimited jurisdiction in civil matters;
  • That person will discharge his or her functions without fear or favour, that is, he or she will not allow any person or organization to influence him or her to compromise his or her neutrality;
  • That person will discharge his or her functions without fear or favour neutrally, between the two opposing parties, as he or she would have done in Court between two opposing litigants;
  • That person will not be an activist in any form (gender, racial, religious etc.);
  • That person should not have any political affiliation or should not belong to any political party in any form, apparent or hidden; and,
  • That person should have a general character of honesty, integrity, faithfulness and diligence in the discharge of his or her duty as Chairman.”
  • by letter dated the 2nd day of May, 2017, the Leader of the Opposition submitted the names of six (6) more persons to the President to be placed on the list already submitted for the President to appoint one (1) person as the Chairman of GECOM in accordance with and in pursuance of the provisions of Article 161(2) of the Constitution;
  • the names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition to the President were as follows:
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice of Appeal B.S. Roy (retired);
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice William Ramlal (retired);
  • Oneidge Walrond-Allicock;
  • Kashir Khan;
  • Nadia Sagar;
  • Gerald Gouveia.

 

  • by a letter on the 2nd day of June, 2017, the President informed the Leader of the Opposition that he again found the said names to be, ‘unacceptable’;
  • on the 12th day of June, 2017, the Leader of the Opposition and a team met with the President to hold further consultations on the appointment of the Chairman of GECOM in accordance with the Constitution. At the end of that meeting, a Joint Public Statement was issued by the Government and the Leader of the Opposition in the following terms:

“the parties agree that it would be in the best interest of the people of Guyana that the choice of a Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission is made without undue delay. The parties further agreed that the Leader of the Opposition will submit a new list of six names to the President.

It will also agreed that a high-level team would be assembled representing the President and the Leader of the Opposition which will begin to work immediately on exploring modalities to bring a resolution to this matter in the event that the list is rejected.”

  • that upon a request from the President, on the 25th day of August, 2017, the Leader of the Opposition submitted the names of six (6) more persons to the President to appoint one (1) of the persons on that list as the Chairman of GECOM in accordance with and in pursuance of the provisions of Article 161(2) of the Constitution;
  • the names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition to the President were as follows:
  • Major General (Ret’d) Joseph Singh;
  • Teni Housty;
  • Sanjeev Datadin,
  • Annette Arjune-Martins;
  • Onesi La Fleur;
  • Krishnadatt Persaud.

 

  • that by a letter dated the 19th day of October, 2017, the President informed the Leader of the Opposition that he found the said names to be, ‘unacceptable’;
  • that the Applicant has been informed by Bharat Jagdeo, MP, the Leader of the Opposition and do verily believe:
  • that a meeting with the President at which the aforesaid letter was hand delivered, the President informed the Leader of the Opposition that, having rejected the third set of names submitted to him, he will now proceed to unilaterally appoint Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson, a retired High Court Judge as the Chairman of GECOM;
  • at the said meeting, the curriculum vitae of Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson was hand delivered to the Leader of the Opposition.

 

  • later that evening, Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson was sworn in as the Chairman of GECOM at a public ceremony at State House;
  • it will be observed from the said curriculum vitae and from enquiries made by the Applicant that Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson:
  • is a reverend, that is, a Christian activist/leader;
  • is a member of the advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy appointed by the President;
  • is an advisor to the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs appointed by the President, the Attorney-General or someone in the President’s Government and is paid eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) per month as for that post;
  • was never appointed Chief Justice of Grenada in 1987, or at all;
  • was appointed by the President to head a Commission of Inquiry into the prison break at Georgetown, Guyana, during the month of July, 2017;
  • was appointed by the President to be part of a panel to review applications for the positions of Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary;
  • was a pallbearer at Merriman’s Funeral Home at the funeral of former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte. This was a service which preceded the State Funeral at which members and supporters of the People’s National Congress Party attended; all the other pallbearers in relation to that part of the ceremony were People’s National Congress Party leaders, activists and supporters;
  • is a member of a group under the name and style, ‘Rally around the People’s National Congress (PNC) Group’, a group on Facebook, a social media platform;
  • that the position of ‘advisor to the Attorney-General’, was never publicly advertised and Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson was therefore not appointed to that post through the mechanism of any competitive process; in short, he was handpicked for that position either by the President, the Attorney-General or some authorized member of the President’s Government.
  • that the Applicant subsequently read in the local press and saw an interview on television in which Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson stated that he was only informed of impending appointment as the Chairman of GECOM a few hours prior to his swearing in;
  • as a result, the Applicant verily believes that the President could not have had the benefit of a curriculum vitae of Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson when he chose to appoint him as the Chairman of GECOM; in the event that the President had the said resume, he only had a few hours, the most, to examine it;
  • on the other hand, the President took months before he determined that the eighteen (18) persons and their curriculum vitae submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition were unacceptable.
  • that the Applicant is advised by Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Attorney-at-Law and do verily believe that Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson is not qualified to be appointed as the Chairman of GECOM in accordance with and in pursuance to Article 161(2) of the Constitution for the following reasons:
  • that he cannot be considered to have the requisite integrity on the ground that he was not the Chief Justice of Grenada as stated on his curriculum vitae;
  • that he cannot be or appear to be politically impartial and independent in the discharge of the functions of his office on the grounds:
  • he is a member of the advisory Committee on the Prerogative Mercy appointed by the President;
  • an advisor to the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs appointed by the President, the Attorney-General or someone in the President’s Government;
  • was appointed by the President to head a Commission of Inquiry into a prison break at Georgetown, Guyana, during the month of July, 2017;
  • was appointed by the President to be part of a panel to reviewing applications for the positions of Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Judiciary;
  • was a pallbearer at Merriman’s Funeral Home at the funeral of former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte. This was a service which proceeded the State Funeral at which members and supporters of the People’s National Congress attended; all the other pallbearers in relation to that part of the ceremony were People’s National Congress Party leaders, activists and supporters;
  • is a member of the group, ‘Rally around the People’s National Congress (PNC) Group’, a group on Facebook, a social media platform on the worldwide web;
  • that he is a reverend and a Christian activist and therefore offends against one (1) of the qualities of the Chairman of GECOM as stipulated by the President.

 

  • that the Applicant is also advised by Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Attorney-at-Law and do verily believe that without prejudice and in addition to the foregoing, the appointment of Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson by the President as the Chairman on GECOM is contrary to and in violation of the letter and spirit of Article 161(2) of the Constitution in as much as:
  • the President has no power to make a unilateral appointment once a list of six (6) names are submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition;
  • the President failed to give any reason for deeming as unacceptable, eighteen (18) names of outstanding Guyanese produced by a consultative process involving several important stakeholders, organizations and the Leader of the Opposition;
  • by making a unilateral appointment of a Chairman of GECOM, the President has destroyed a vital and delicate balance which the framers of the Carter Formula, which was codified in Article 161(2) of the Constitution, intended, that is, that GECOM shall consist of three (3) Commissioners representing the Government and three (3) Commissioners representing the Opposition, presided over a Chairman produced through a consensual process involving the Leader of the Opposition and the President;
  • in all the circumstances, the exercise of the President’s discretion and the decision which has resulted therefrom is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, procedurally improper, unconstitutional, influenced by improper motives and made in bad faith.

 

  1. The following documentary evidence will be used at the hearing of the application:
  • Affidavit of ZULFIKAR MUSTAPHA;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 21st day of December, 2016 containing a list of six (6) persons sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the President;
  • a bundle containing the curriculum vitae of the list of six (6) persons contained in a letter dated the 21st day of December, 2016, sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the President;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 5th day of January, 2017, sent by the President to the Leader of the Opposition indicating that the former had found the six (6) persons provided to him as, ‘unacceptable’;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 14th day of March, 2017, addressed to the Leader of the Opposition from the President in which the latter enumerated a list of, ‘qualities of the Chairman of Guyana Elections Commission’;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 2nd day of May, 2017, in which the Leader of the Opposition submitted the names of six (6) more persons to the President to appoint one (1) person as the Chairman of GECOM in accordance with and in pursuance of the provisions of Article 161(2) of the Constitution;
  • a bundle containing the curriculum vitae of the list of six (6) persons contained in a letter dated the 2nd day of May, 2017, sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the President;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 2nd day of June, 2017, sent by the President to the Leader of the Opposition indicating that the former had found the six (6) persons, ‘unacceptable’;
  • a copy of the Joint Public Statement issued by the Government and the Leader of the Opposition on the 12th day of June, 2017;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 25th day of August, 2017, sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the President in which the former submitted to the latter the name of six (6) more persons to appoint one (1) of the persons on that list as the Chairman of GECOM;
  • a bundle containing the curriculum vitae of the list of six (6) persons contained in a letter dated the 25th day of August, 2017, sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the President;
  • a copy of a letter dated the 19th day of October, 2017, hand delivered to the Leader of the Opposition indicating that the President had found the six (6) persons, ‘unacceptable’;
  • a copy of the curriculum vitae of Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson;
  • a copy of documents printed from the People’s National Congress Party website;
  • a printout from Facebook’s website showing Reverend Justice (ret’d) James Aloysius Patterson profile and his membership of a group, under the name and style, ‘Rally around the People’s National Congress (PNC) Group’.

 

………………………………………………….

MOHABIR ANIL NANDLALL, MP
Attorney-at-Law
Mohabir A. Nandlall & Associates
Attorneys-at-Law
‘Bhagwati Chambers’
217 South Street Lacytown, Georgetown, Guyana, Tel: (592) 227-2712, 223-7487
Fax:(592) 223-7486
bhagwatichambers@gmail.com

 

 

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