Over Service Commissions, Judicial Nominees
GUYANA — President David Granger announced this week that he plans to meet “very soon” with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on the appointment of several service commissions and the latter’s rejection of the nominees to the top two judicial posts.
“I expect that we’ll be meeting the Leader of the Opposition very soon to deal with a range of appointments. That [the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Chairman] is one of them,” he was reported by the Stabroek News as telling reporters at State House shortly after accepting the credentials of Guatemala’s non-resident ambassador to Guyana, Mario Estuardo Torres.
Granger was questioned on the absence of a PCA Chairman for more than a year following the removal of Justice (rtd) Cecil Kennard owing to his advanced age.
The President was reported as saying that at the upcoming meeting with Jagdeo the reconstitution of the Public Service Commission and the Police Service Commission will also be on the agenda for discussion.
The life of these two commissions came to an end since last year and have raised concerns as to why government is allowing so much time to elapse without them being reconstituted, the Stabroek News said. The reconstitution of the Police Service Commission is of particular importance as its constitution is required for the promotion of senior ranks in the police force.
When asked how soon he plans to have this meeting, the President responded, “I cannot (say) I have to wait on Parliament for the nominations”. While noting that nominations for the Police Service Commission are already with Parliament, he said none has been made for the Public Service Commission. “As soon as the parliament completes its work I will ask the Leader of the Opposition to meet,” he said, according to the Stabroek News.
On Thursday, Jagdeo said that he has received no formal correspondence, even as he expressed his willingness to attend a meeting with the president. “It is part of my constitutional duty. I have to do that and I have been calling for the service commissions to be in place. Our policemen depend on it, the judiciary depends on it, teachers, public servants. Those commissions are vital …they have to be in place (and) I am part of the process,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference at his Church Street office.
Meanwhile, with regards to the judicial nominees impasse, Granger said that he has laid all his cards on the table based on the advice given to him but will discuss the matter when he meets with Jagdeo. Granger was asked what the next step is given that Jagdeo has publicly said that he will offer no counterproposals.
Justice Cummings-Edwards and acting Chief Justice Roxane George were appointed last year, weeks after the retirement of then acting Chancellor Carl Singh. Chancellor Singh was the acting head of the Judiciary for about 12 years. Granger, the then Opposition Leader had refused to agree to Chancellor Singh’s substantive appointment saying that that position as well as the Chief Justice’s post must first be advertised in the interest of transparency before there is any confirmation. The then PPP/C government had argued that such a process was not catered for.