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Op-Ed: HE HAS HAD TIME TO CHECK, BUT HE STILL CANNOT REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS GRENADA’S CJ

Soon after President Granger announced that he has unilaterally appointed, outside of the constitutional arrangement, Justice James Patterson as the Chair of GECOM, I wrote a commentary protesting the appointment and deeming Justice Patterson as not “fit and proper”. Among the issues I highlighted in several commentaries since October 19 is Justice Patterson’s false claim that he was the Chief Justice of Grenada. None of my friends in Grenada know of Justice Patterson.
The Kaieteur News, a friend and supporter of APNU+AFC, was unable to confirm this claim by Justice Patterson. They found no evidence that Justice Patterson was the Chief Justice of Grenada. In fact, the Kaieteur News could not find anyone who or any document which could attest to Justice Patterson even acting as Chief Justice. The Guyana Times was out front, almost immediately after the announcement, reporting their inability to confirm this claim in Justice Patterson’s CV. In follow-up investigation in the days that followed, they were unable to find any evidence that Justice Patterson served as Chief Justice. In their investigation, it appears no one could even recall Justice Patterson serving in Grenada. The PPP’s political machinery has been able to gather evidence in regards of all the Chief Justices in Grenada from the 1970s to the present. They gathered evidence to show that Justice Patterson was never the Chief Justice of Grenada.

Now we know why these meticulous efforts failed to turn up evidence to confirm Justice Patterson’s claim. Justice Patterson has himself solved the mystery – he confesses that he was never the Chief Justice of Grenada or anywhere else. He maintained, however, that he acted briefly as the Chief Justice of Grenada. But he cannot remember when he acted as Chief Justice of Grenada. This has been an issue since the night he was sworn in as GECOM’s Chair. It has been an issue that has generated controversy in the news every single day since. One would have thought that he would have checked the records and provide the evidence of when he acted as the Chief Justice.

I acted as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Education on several occasions. I have never claimed that I was Minister of any of these important sectors. But acting in a particular capacity, even for a short period, might be important enough for some people to include as part of their credentials. I do not object and I do think it is an acceptable practice. However, Justice Patterson has two problems.

First, he claimed he was the Chief Justice. That was a bald faced lie. It is not an innocent lie. It is not something that you can forget and it is not something that a man who is a judge cannot discern is wrong. The lie is even more egregious because from the President down to the Attorney General and the Cabinet no one did the vetting of the CV to ensure that the credentials of the person they were appointing are real. It took Justice Patterson two weeks to do the honorable thing and admit that he lied.

Second, if the fall-back position is that he meant he had acted in that position, why is it he cannot provide the date or dates. That he cannot remember and that he cannot verify the dates from relevant records is a problem. Did he act for a day, a week or a month? Did he act while the Chief Justice of Grenada left the country for a meeting? He must at least remember something about acting as the Chief Justice.

It is sheer arrogance to face the Guyanese people with a clear lie and now try to be dismissive by saying he cannot recall the dates. He has had two weeks to check his dates and confirm when he did. Now APNU+AFC is making it worse by decorating the lie with bombastic dictatorial language. President Granger insists that Justice Patterson’s appointment was not based on his being the Chief Justice of Grenada. Minister Joe Harmon dismissed all concerns by pronouncing that the Chief Justice issue is “neither here nor there” and it is irrelevant.

Actually, a lie is a lie and adds to the heap of reasons why Justice Patterson is not “fit and proper”. It is clear that Justice Patterson is in a conspiracy with APNU+AFC. What conspiracy? We must be lving on the moon if we do not know.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

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