The David Granger-led administration is acting in contradiction to its commitment to have a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as soon as possible, Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo said moments ago.
President David Granger last Friday, as he addressed the nation following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) handing down of consequential orders, said, “It is clear that elections have to be held in the shortest possible time and, therefore, it is crucial to appoint a chairman of the GECOM…this could be done as early as Monday if the Opposition is prepared to act in a consensual manner and in good faith.”
But Jagdeo in a press conference at this Church Street Office today said that, upon hearing this, he asked former Chief Whip of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to write to the President’s office to indicate the opposition’s intention and willingness to meet throughout the weekend to continue the hammering out of names for the president’s consideration.
Jagdeo said he received no response to this request.
“President can’t claim urgency and not be prepared to meet,” The former Head of State added.
President Granger and Jagdeo had agreed to assign teams to meet and “hammer out” names to be considered for the post. However, these negotiations fell through and the entire selection process was reverted to both leaders.
Jagdeo said that following the breakdown between the two groups, clarity was sought by the PPP. He said the party questioned whether the process had concluded. The politician said that he directly posed this question to the Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon and was told “no”.
He said that he suggested to Harmon that both heads – Granger and Jagdeo – meet along with one person each to come up with the names.
“[Harmon] told me that has been accepted by the president [but] at this point in time we haven’t received any correspondence regarding that meeting,” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo’s claim comes on the heels of recent utterances made by Harmon last week, whereby the former State Minister contended that the delegates assigned by Jagdeo were dragging their feet in the process of formulating names for the President’s consideration in appointing the next Chairman.
Harmon told media practitioners that the matter of coming up with names could have been dealt with by the two teams rather than referring the matter back to their respective heads.
The retired army official said that after Jagdeo’s list was dealt with in a “certain way”, the path was paved to consider the names of those candidates that were submitted by President Granger to Jagdeo for consideration.
Harmon told the media that it was then that all negotiations went south. Upon meeting on the day to discuss the names submitted by the President, the members on the other side began to raise issues that were already dealt with in previous engagements.
Harmon said that Jagdeo’s representatives began to constantly seek clarification on matters that had already been agreed upon by both parties.