GECOM Chairman discharged from hospital – PRO

first_imgChairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice James Patterson, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a private city hospital, but has been discharged. This is according to GECOM Public Relations Officer Yolanda Warde, who on Saturday said Patterson is resting at home, where he is being monitored by doctors.“The Chairman is unwell…as far as I know, he was discharged and was being monitored by his doctors from home,” Warde told this publication.Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj told this publication on Saturday that, over the past weeks, all meetings at GECOM were cancelled. He said the next scheduled meeting is in January 2019.“We received a letter saying that the next meeting would be on the second Tuesday in January, which is the 8th January,” Gunraj said.He posited that there is “a lot of work to be done” judging from the fact that Regional and General Elections are due in 2020.Patterson was, in October 2017, appointed GECOM Chairman by President David Granger. Immediately thereafter, PPP Executive Secretary Zulfikar Mustapha had filed an injunction that sought to have the court rescind the unilateral appointment.However, after several months of engaging the High Court, the Chief Justice had, on June 8, 2018, ruled that the Constitution of Guyana allows for the President to unilaterally appoint someone to fill the position of GECOM Chair.The Opposition had also argued that the chairman was unqualified for the post, and had petitioned the court to order the President to choose a person from the 18 names submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo prior to Patterson’s appointment.However, the Chief Justice, in her ruling, stated that there is nothing before the court to support a finding that the President had acted unlawfully or irrationally in resorting to the proviso to Art 161(2); and there is nothing to rebut the presumption that Justice Patterson is qualified to be appointed to the post of Chairman of GECOM.According to the Chief Justice, the Opposition did not produce evidence to support the contention that Patterson was unqualified for the position. However, she did outline in her ruling that the President should have given reasons for his rejection of the 18 nominees submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in three separate lists, all of whom were rejected.Attorney Anil Nandlall, on behalf of his client, appealed the decision, contending that the learned Chief Justice had misconstrued and misinterpreted the role of the Leader of the Opposition in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and as such, he was asking the court to overturn the High Court ruling.However, the Court of Appeal upheld the Chief Justice’s ruling. An appeal has since been filed in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).last_img read more