Since 1997, Guyana has been working with the Carter formula, a provision that allows for the Opposition and Government to nominate three Commissioners each to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
But when the nominations come from political parties, there would be obvious complications, one being gridlock over the choice for Chairman of GECOM. It is for this and other reasons that President, David Granger recently expressed that the formula which was given to Guyana by former US President, Jimmy Carter, has outlived its usefulness.
At his Friday last press conference, Granger said, “We are still working under the Carter formula which we generally agreed to have exhausted its usefulness. It’s like having a cricket match with one umpire from each team. It is not a formula for consensus. It’s almost a formula for gridlock. There needs to be a change and like other provisions, we need to establish new rules.”
The Head of State also said that he is in favour of reforming GECOM. He noted however that there would be a need to adopt the right architecture and procedures. Granger said it is possible that this (reform) can be pushed before the next elections but there would need to be consensus with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on certain issues.
It was in July that Carter had reached out to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo and Granger in an effort to get both parties to hold discussions on issues of national importance. Plans for the intended political discussions were stalled since the PPP was opposed to Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo leading the Government’s delegation. Granger has since agreed to lead the talks. There are ongoing discussions on what topics will be placed on the table.