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Nandlall files appeal to overturn CJ's ruling on Guyana's GECOM Chairman appointment

 

 

 

By Kaieter News

GEORGETOWN
Petroleumworld 06 12 2018

Concerned that among other things, Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George-Wiltshire S.C. misconstrued and misinterpreted the role of the Leader of the Opposition in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall is now asking the Court of Appeal to overturn a recent ruling by her concerning the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

The appeal was filed yesterday by Attorneys-at-law Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan, Sasha Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra Jaigobin and Anuradha Deodatsingh and Devindra Kissoon on behalf of People's Progressive Party (PPP) executive member Zulfikar Mustapha.

Mustapha had moved to the Courts to challenge President David Granger's unilateral appointment of 84-year-old Justice (Rtd) James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM. The appointment was made on October 19, last year.

The challenge, which had engaged the Courts for some time was on Friday, last, dismissed by the CJ, although she found that the President should have given reasons for his rejection of the nominees submitted by
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

She ruled that the President enjoys the right to reject the list of names provided by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, and unilaterally appoint someone from the judicial category as Chairman of GECOM, as outlined in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana.

The appeal concentrated on 14 grounds. Lawyers for Mustapha argued that the decision of the acting Chief Justice is wrong, misconceived and erroneous in law as it allows the President to reject a list of names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition pursuant to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution and make a unilateral appointment of a person of his own choosing.

They have argued, too, that the CJ “erred and misdirected” herself in law in construing Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana by failing to give effect to the intentions of the framers of the said Article.

They have also argued that the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she failed to apply or failed to properly apply the purposive canon of interpretation in construing Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

“The Learned Hearing Judge erred and misdirected Herself in law when Her Honour misconstrued and misinterpreted the role of the Leader of the Opposition in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in so far as Her Honour's interpretation or misinterpretation has reduced the role of the Leader of the Opposition to being merely perfunctory,” the appeal stated.

According to the appeal, the CJ also erred and misdirected herself in law by omitting to review or properly review the exercise of the power and discretion, which Article 161 (2) resides with the President. The President rejected three sets of names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition pursuant to the said Article. Nandlall wants the appellate court to determine whether the President exercised that power and discretion lawfully and reasonably and not irrationally, capriciously, whimsically and influenced by irrelevant and extraneous considerations and not guided by relevant considerations.

Further, the lawyers are contesting that the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law by ruling that the President has the power to reject a list of six names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition in accordance to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana.
In their petition to the Court of Appeal, the lawyers further argued that the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she failed to pronounce on whether the President has the power to request more than one list of six names from the Leader of the Opposition pursuant to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.

Another ground for the appeal states that the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she failed to take into account the first and the second list of names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition upon the request of the President pursuant to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.

The appeal further argues that, “The Learned Hearing Judge erred and misdirected Herself in law by finding that the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is empowered to reject the list as unacceptable although one or more persons on that list is or are acceptable to the President;

“The decision of the Learned Hearing Judge is wrong, misconceived and erroneous in law as it has destroyed a delicate but fundamental balance in the composition of the Guyana Elections Commission, which the framers of the Constitution intended to repose in a Chairman appointed by a formula captured in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution which ensures that such a Chairman enjoys the confidence and acceptance of both the Leader of the Opposition and the President.”

In the legal document seen by this publication, lawyers for Mustapha have contested that the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law by ruling that the President lawfully and properly invoked the proviso to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution.

The lawyers' petition outlined that the CJ erred and misdirected herself in law by failing to correctly and properly construe and interpret the circumstances when the proviso to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution can be activated.

It continues, “The Learned Hearing Judge erred and misdirected Herself in law by failing to impugn the appointment of Mr. Justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM after Her Honour ruled that reasons are required to be provided by the President for the rejection of the list submitted by the Leader of the Opposition pursuant to Article 161 (2) of the Constitution and after having ruled that the President provided no such reasons.”

________________________

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