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Selection Of New GECOM Chair Must Be Consensual – Min. Ramjattan

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan said the selection of the new Chairman for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must be a consensual process between President David Granger and the Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Minister Ramjattan stressed that the only way a consensus can be met is by “doing exactly what the Caribbean Court of Justice [CCJ] has exerted.” He was at the time responding to questions from members of the media on the best way forward in selecting a new GECOM Chairman.

The minister said if the instruction is that the two leaders must meet then it is essential, they do so.

“In relation to the Elections Chairman, both the Leader of the Opposition and the president must meet and work out the six names. Therefore, the Opposition Leader cannot simply present six names to the President. They must meet and they must deliberate on six names that are acceptable to the President and from those six he could select one,” he stated.

Minister Ramjattan pointed out that Justice Adrian Saunders, the President of the CCJ, in his decision made it clear what the process should be going forward.

“The consensual approach according to paragraph 10 of Justice Saunders’ decision, is how do you approach the question and he said they must and he highlighted the word ‘must’; that they must meet and work out the six names together and then once it is acceptable to the president, the president then selects one of the six.”

Minister Ramjattan said that he believes it is a progressive move and one that should be adhered to by both parties. However, should that process fail then the president will then utilize the proviso. That is Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana that allows for the appointment to be made unilaterally, where the opposition leader fails to submit a list “as provided for”.

On June 24, the CCJ heard oral submissions on the consequential orders, following which President Saunders ordered that the court will receive written submissions from the principal parties by July 1. President Saunders also announced that the CCJ will undertake to give a decision on or before July 12. The CCJ has encouraged the parties to meet during this period.

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