President should give reasons for rejection of list

first_imgDear Editor,Conversations with Guyanese in the Diaspora and in Guyana reveal that the People’s National Congress (PNC) and its leader, President David Granger want a Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) who can guarantee a PNC or coalition victory come next election. The opinion among Guyanese is the PNC feels confident it can “win” the next election without the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and/or the Alliance For Change (AFC), as long as there is a willing partner in GECOM to facilitate a victory as happened between 1966 and 1992. Apparently, as opinions suggest, the PNC does not feel any of the Opposition’s six nominees will deliver a victory for the incumbent. Thus, all of them awee rejected. All six are qualified to serve as Chair and at least five of the six would have guaranteed a free and fair election. The other one was involved in election rigging on behalf of the PNC, but has become affiliated with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). Thus, his loyalty in the election is questionable. It is suggested that the PNC does not wish to take a chance with him even though he rigged several elections.With regards to the rejection of all the nominees for appointment of a Chair, President Granger has not provided a reason why a very qualified nominee like Christopher Ram, for example, was unacceptable when he campaigned for the coalition in 2015, the AFC in 2011, WPA in previous elections. It is the view of lawyers and laymen that all six nominees have met the criteria as outlined in the Constitution as well as the convention established in the Carter Formula. Thus, the President should not have rejected anyone. One of the six should have been selected.One can understand why one nominee who was a candidate for the PPP in an election was rejected. One can rationalize why the President rejected Ms Rhyaan Shah because of her outspokenness against the perceived mis-governance of the coalition regime. She is not a lawyer. But she would have delivered a free and fair election that is above reproach; she is not the character who would be bullied by political parties or thugs. She is not tied to any party and has been very critical of the PPP and the coalition. She is politically neutral and wants good governance and has been advocating for a free and fair election.Lawyers, business people, politicians, professionals, and the Georgetown elite I spoke with feel Lawrence Latchmansingh would have been selected as chair as he has virtually no negatives and no baggage.He has a very clean image and has promoted fair elections through his affiliation with the Electoral Assistance Bureau. He is not publicly tied to any party. He is married to an African and raises a mixed family. His Indian identity, as being suggested by many, should not have disqualified him. He cannot be counted upon to close his eyes to or approve of rigging and that would have disqualified him. He has worked as a volunteer to ensure free and fair elections.Nevertheless, it is felt he is the ideal choice as Chair although admittedly he is not a lawyer. But he is fit and proper for the position.Chris Ram, however, is a lawyer and although not a judge, he is most qualified to be a judge. Thus, he has met Granger’s criteria of meeting the “legal background”. His negative is he is affiliated with and sympathetic to the WPA and the AFC. But he campaigned for the PNC-led coalition in 2015 and the AFC in 2011. And he was always anti PPP. But he is a democrat and cannot be relied upon to rig elections. He would not support or condone electoral fraud and no thug would bully him. This disqualifies him to be chair. Since he has been so close to the coalition, I do not think the coalition leadership would have rejected him. So of all the nominees, Ram has met the requirement of experience in law. In addition, like the others, he has met the criteria of being “fit and proper”.The President needs to explain why he considers the six nominees as not meeting the definition of fit and proper. He rejected the list and has asked for a second list of nominees. Granger needs to explain why he rejected the nominees so that the Opposition Leader can be guided accordingly in providing a second list that will not be rejected.Separately, I wish to point out that David Hinds is wrong in describing the Opposition list as “partisan”. As noted above, only one nominee (who was a candidate for the PPP) has or had affiliation with PPP which is Hinds’ primary concern. But it is most unfortunate he sees Ram, Shah and Latchmansingh as partisan PPP when these gentlemen and lady are characters of integrity and rectitude and never have affiliation with PPP.Yours faithfully,Vishnu Bisramlast_img