President David Granger is maintaining that he intends to appoint a person he deems “fit and proper” to the top Guyana Elections Commission post, despite an interpretation of the Constitution by the Chief Justice earlier this week.
On the sidelines of the swearing in of new Judges at State House on Wednesday, Mr. Granger told the media that he will continue to act with his perception of the Constitution.
“The Chief Justice gave an appointment based on her perception of the law and I will continue to act with my perception of the Constitution. That is to say, I will not appoint somebody who I do not consider fit and proper,” he said.
Chief Justice (acting), Roxanne George-Wiltshire on Monday handed down her interpretation of the Constitutional requirements for the selection of a Chairman of the Elections Commission, after that interpretation was sought by businessman Marcel Gaskin.
The businessman had moved to the Court for the interpretation of the Constitution, under Article 161(2), after the first list consisting of a total of six persons was rejected by President Granger.
In response to Gaskin’s submission, which questioned whether the list of persons for appointment must include a Judge, former Judge or a person qualified as a judge, the Chief Justice disagreed that the list must include a Judge.
The Chief Justice was also asked to comment on whether the President is required to state the reason for deeming the six names submitted as unacceptable. To that, she said he should state why the persons were rejected.
But on this note, Mr. Granger disagreed. “If you can show me the Article of the Constitution which requires me to give a reason, I will comply but I will not do what the Constitution does not require me to do,” he said.
The President does not believe that the Chief Justice’s interpretation has “diminished his regard for the spirit of the Constitution.”
He reiterated that the person to the appointed as the GECOM Chairman must be independent and impartial.
The Chief Justice had noted that the President was not obliged to select a person from the six names submitted by the Opposition Leader.
The interpretation also noted that one or more unacceptable persons on the list do not render the entire list as unacceptable.
The President is now awaiting the submission of a new list from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, even as Gaskin has indicated his intention to appeal the Chief Justice’s decision. (by Kurt Campbell)