The businessman who initiated Court proceedings, seeking an interpretation of Article 161(2) of the Constitution has announced his intention to appeal the decision by Chief Justice Roxanne George- Wiltshire, on the grounds that she went beyond what he had requested.
Marcel Gaskin’s application to the High dealt with the Constitutional requirements for the selection of a Chairman of the Elections Commission by the President.
A partially satisfied Gaskin said following Monday’s interpretation by the Chief Justice that while clarity was provided on the issue, the interpretation also created “unnecessary confusion.”
He was pleased that the Chief Justice upheld his position that the six names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition do not require the inclusion of a Judge, a former Judge or someone qualified to be a judge.
The CJ’s interpretation also reinforced the point that the President is required to state reasons for deeming any of the six nominees unacceptable.
And she also opined that the entire list should not be rendered unacceptable if one person is deemed unworthy or unqualified for the position. But Gaskin’s problem with the decision may have to do with the Chief Justice’s position that the President still has the right to reject the entire list completely.
“In my view, the Honourable Chief Justice went beyond what was asked by me of the Court in addressing the proviso to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution which only applies if the Leader of the Opposition fails to submit a list. This was never an issue for us since the Leader of the Opposition submitted not one but two lists of persons for nomination as Chairman of GECOM,” he said in a statement.
Gaskin said it is unfortunate that the Chief Justice ruled that the President is not obliged to select a person from the six names on the list unless he has determined positively that the persons thereon are unacceptable as a fit and proper person for appointment.
According to Gaskin, this is “a gross error” and it creates unnecessary misunderstanding and confusion.
However, the bone of contention for Gaskin is what Attorney General Basil Williams favors about the interpretation. The Attorney General believes the interpretation by the Chief Justice confirms that the President did not have to wait for the submission of a new list.
In a statement, Williams said according to the Constitution, the President could have gone ahead and appointed a Chairman, having rejected the first list.
A second list was submitted to the President by the Opposition Leader but that list was also rejected and the third list of nominees is being finalized.