The Caribbean Court of Justice has also ruled that President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission was flawed and not in keeping with the Constitution.
The President rejected three lists of six persons each that were recommended to him by the Leader of the Opposition back in 2017 and went ahead with the appointment of the retired Judge as the new Chairman of the Elections Commission.
In its ruling, the CCJ said it could not be that the framers of the provision in the Constitution wanted the President to decide on his own who should be the Chairman of GECOM, as was done in the previous provisions.
The CCJ also said the President could not set out his own requirements that were not covered in the Constitution. The Court said President Granger’s appointment was “fatally flawed”.
The Court is also of the view that the President and the Opposition Leader should meet and discuss possible candidates before any list is submitted to the President. By so doing, the Court believes, the President would have a direct role in the selection process and not just by picking from a list that he was seeing for the first time.
Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had ruled that the appointment was valid, but the CCJ sees it otherwise.
However, the CCJ has set June 24 as the date to consider consequential orders. An absence of a GECOM Chairman could see the process having to start all over again and that process by itself could delay the hosting of any early elections.