Granger, Jagdeo seem closer to agreeing on GECOM Chairman nominees

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Tuesday evening appeared closer to coming up with six acceptable nominees for the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

“We expect that we’ll make progress in crafting a list,” President David Granger told a media briefing.

In a joint statement, Jagdeo and Granger said “that from the list of five names shortlisted by the working group, four were found not unacceptable to the President.”

The country’s two top political leaders said as part of the hammering-out process, the two names—Attorney-at-Law Keshaundra Alves and Retired Justice Claudette La Bennett—suggested by the President and others as may be necessary, will be discussed further.

Jagdeo declined to go beyond the joint statement, but senior opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) sources have said they opposed Alves and La Bennett and in any case it would be a contradiction for the President to pick someone who he already finds acceptable.

President Granger said following the more than one-hour long talks at the Ministry of the Presidency that the process does not deprive Jagdeo of his constitutional right to submit names from which one would be selected.

Among Jagdeo’s nominees who have been weeded out are Ramesh Dookhoo, former GECOM Chairman, Retired Major General Joseph Singh, and Gerry Gouveia, according to well-placed sources.

The five acceptable nominees include International Governance and Conflict Resolution Specialist, Lawrence Lachmansingh.

The President said the reasons for rejecting several of the 11 nominees were “confidential” and that they had “a very fruitful meeting.”

Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon added that the parties would meet on Wednesday at a time still to be decided.

President Granger said that a smaller team than the six-member working group would be spearheading that meeting.

Britain, United States and the European Union have jointly called on the relevant parties to swiftly abide by the rulings by the Caribbean Court of Justice for appointing a new GECOM Chairman and holding general elections in accordance with the provisions governing the passage of a no-confidence motion last December.

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