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Nandlall defends private citizens’ right to challenge appointment of GECOM Chairman

Former Attorney Anil Nandlall – the lead attorney in the case – has defended the rights of any private citizens to challenge the appointment of Justice James Patterson as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The Queen’s Counsel which were retained by the government to represent the State on the case are arguing that the application cannot be filed by anyone but the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

They argued that Parliamentarian Zulfikar Mustapha has no jurisdiction to file the application since he was not party to the process of appointing a GECOM Chairman.

However, Nandlall, who was unavoidable present during the recent court proceeding, explained publicly that any public spirited citizen can take to the court matters which can be considered a public wrong.

“It is trite law supported by decisions of the House of Lords, the Privy Council and indeed every respected and respectable Court in the English Commonwealth, spanning over 50 countries that once a public wrong is alleged to have been committed or the Constitution is allegedly violated any taxpayer or citizen has a right to approach the Judiciary for rectification and redress. This principle must logically apply with greater force to a Member of Parliament,” he stated.

He added that “Like their counterparts in the Commonwealth, this is the position uniformly adopted by the Courts of Guyana since the early 90’s, led by Chief Justice Desiree Bernard (Re: Application by Dr Carl Hanoman).”

Nandlall further argued that the Current Chief Justice (Acting) overruled the Attorney General on this very issue no less than 10 times last year. But like a rhinoceros, he continues to doggedly advance the same argument.

In addition to Nandlall, representing Mustapha are attorneys Rajendra Jaigobin, Manoj Narayan and Priya Manickchand.

When the case is called again at a date yet to be announced, it will be for the court to deliver its ruling on Mustapha’s application.

Justice Patterson was sworn in as GECOM Chairman on October 19th, just a few hours after President David Granger met Jagdeo, informed him of the rejection of a third list of nominees he had submitted, and about his selection of Patterson.

Mustapha’s application contends that the president has no power to make a unilateral appointment once a list of six names is submitted to him, while noting that he failed to give reasons for naming Jagdeo’s 18 nominees unacceptable.

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