While not questioning the legality or constitutionality of the President’s decision to unilaterally appoint a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission after rejecting the three list of Opposition nominees, The Guyana Bar Association believes the President should now give full reasons for his rejection of the eighteen nominees that were submitted by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.
In a Saturday statement, the Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association noted its deep concern over the President’s unilateral appointment.
According to the Association, “the unilateral appointment of the Chairman can lead to a loss of public confidence in the electoral process which is entirely undesirable having regard to Guyana’s experience in past elections.”
The body said it expects that, in keeping with the ruling of Chief Justice George in the matter of Marcel Gaskin against the Attorney General, the President will provide reasons for the rejection of the eighteen names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition as prospective candidates for appointment.
It was that same ruling by the Chief Justice that pointed to the President being able to unilaterally appoint a GECOM Chairman, once he finds the list submitted by the Leader of the Opposition unacceptable.
The Chief Justice ruled that reasons are required to be provided so that it is known why there is a rejection.
The President has said that he has found all three lists of nominees unacceptable.
“It should be obvious therefore that Guyanese cannot satisfy themselves that there is an objective and lawful basis for the President’s unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson to that office unless publicly stated reasons for the rejection of the eighteen persons found by the President to be unfit to hold the office of Chairman of the Elections Commission are provided”, the Bar Association noted.
The Bar Council said it expects that reasons for rejecting the eighteen persons leading to the unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson will be provided by the President “to avoid the necessity of further litigation on this issue on its part.”