Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, has turned to members of various civil society groups to assist him in coming up with nominees for the position of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.
In a statement this evening, the Opposition Leader’s Office announced that Mr. Jagdeo has already held discussions with 55 representatives from 33 civil society organisations and he has asked them to submit names that he should consider for nomination by next Monday.
During the meetings with the groups, the Opposition Leader also shared with them the letter sent to him by President Granger following his request for clarity on the President’s interpretation of the requirements for the GECOM Chairman job.
In that letter, the President reiterated that based on the Constitutional requirements, the nominees should be persons qualified to be a Judge or persons who would have served as a Judge or persons who are “fit and proper”.
The President offered more clarity on his interpretation of “fit and proper” persons who should be considered for the top Elections Commission job.
In the letter to Mr. Jagdeo, President Granger said the “fit and proper” persons should have wide electoral knowledge, should not be able to be influenced by any person or organisation to compromise their neutrality and the nominees should also be persons who are not affiliated to any political party or belong to any political party.
Additionally the President believes anyone wanting to serve as Chairman of the Elections Commission should not be an activist of any type, whether politically, religious or race.
Mr. Granger also made it known to Mr. Jagdeo that the person to be considered “fit and proper” for the GECOM job should be honest and be able to discharge his/her functions neutrally.
In the Opposition Leader’s statement to the media this evening, it was stated that the representatives of the civil society groups that he met “found it difficult to come up with candidates” who would fulfill all of the President’s criteria.
“In fact, persons doubted if the President himself could find any one who fulfilled his own criteria. Some wondered what were the reasons for the President making the range for selection so extraordinarily restrictive”, the Opposition Leader’s statement said.
Still, Mr. Jagdeo has indicated that he will look at the suggestions to be put forward by civil society and he will submit six more nominees to the President.
The first group of nominees submitted by Mr. Jagdeo to the President was rejected as “unacceptable”. The President has said that he will only decide on a new Chairman when he would have consulted with the Opposition Leader and the two would have reached an agreement on a candidate for the job.