At a press conference held at his Church Street office, he said, “We were waiting for confirmation (of the meeting). It did not take place, so I opted to release three letters, sent to the President, outlining my views on three matters. As you can see in those letters, there is great clarity on our position…at 4:00PM I called Minister Harmon, I said to him that I did not receive confirmation of the meeting and I sent letters. He said ok. I never heard back from him and around 6:00PM I saw this photo, saying that I didn’t show up for the meeting. Clearly this government loves a distraction. My position on each of these issues is known to the public. I will treat this as what it was, an attempt to score cheap political points by the President and the people surrounding him.”
Jagdeo charged that the Coalition government has become “prone to public relation gigs” and pantomimes. “All you had to do was add music to that picture they posted and you would have had a classic case of a pantomime. The reality is that yesterday, we awaited confirmation of the meeting.”
Meanwhile, regarding the content of his letter to Granger on the substantive appointment of a Chancellor and Chief Justice, the Opposition Leader made is clear that he is prepared to meet with the President to “settle on a process” that will allow nominees to be named, in the interest of securing agreement on both sides.
“I made it clear that after the due diligence I did, I could not offer my agreement as required in the Constitution,” he said of Granger’s move to nominate Antigua and Barbuda’s Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chancellor and Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards as Chief Justice.
Asked about the reasons behind his decision, Jagdeo stressed that unlike Granger’s approach to dealing with the nominees for the post of GECOM Chairman, he would not publicly address these. “I am not in the business of judging people in the public domain. These are two distinguished individuals who have had long careers in the judiciary. I will not do like the President did and drag people’s names through the mud….if I am required to give reasons for my rejection, I will do so in the future,” he said.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has since indicated that Granger will be moving ahead with the appointments. Speaking at a post-Cabinet news conference today, he declined to say whether the now persons will be appointed substantively or in acting positions.
Relative to the issue of having members of the judiciary acting in positions, Jagdeo noted that the PNC “likes this” since for 12 years they refused to agree to substantive appointments of members of the judiciary, under the former PPP/C government. “