The long awaited meeting between Attorney General, Basil Williams and the Opposition Leader’s legal representative, Anil Nandlall, is set to take place next Wednesday to address the interpretation of the Constitution when it comes to the appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, today confirmed that the meeting is set for next Wednesday, more than two weeks after the President asked that the two meet to share thoughts on the issue.
The Opposition Leader had called for an urgent meeting with the President after his list of nominees for the GECOM top job was rejected by the Head of State. The President had stated that the list was just one with six names and all of the nominees were unacceptable.
The President has referenced Article 161:2 of the Constitution which states, “ Subject to the provisions of paragraph (4), the chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of court, having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other ‘fit and proper’ person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the President, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly.”
The President’s contention is that even if the person is not qualified to be a Judge or has never served as a judge, they should share the qualities of a Judge in their fit and proper role.
The Opposition Leader shares a different view and has said that all of the persons nominated by him are fit and proper for the job.
Mr. Jagdeo today said that once that meeting between the Attorney General and the former Attorney General would have taken place, he will decide on his next course of action given that the president has already requested that another set of names be submitted.
With various interpretations of the constitution on the matter, Jagdeo said that, it is hopeful that during the meeting, the PPP’s interpretation is considered. (Handel Duncan)