…to replace Sandra Jones as GECOM commissioner
FORMER Member of Parliament and Working Peoples Alliance executive, Desmond Trotman has been selected to replace Sandra Jones at the Guyana Elections Commission, a well-placed source has confirmed.
Trotman will be sworn in shortly, the source added. President David Granger’s decision to go with Trotman–a seasoned politician–comes amid high expectations from Alliance for Change (AFC) that its nominee–Trevor Williams–would have gotten the nod. With the passing of Commissioner Jones and with Local Government Elections months away, President Granger had requested that the six political parties that form the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government submit nominees for the post.
AFC, a major stakeholder in the Coalition Government, was among the first to submit nominees. It had nominated Williams, a former Member of Parliament for the position, and as an alternate Beverly Alert. In an interview with Guyana Chronicle on Thursday, AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan said after years of having no representative on the Commission, it is requesting that its member be appointed.
“We’ve been over the years, asking that as a third party with five seats, and then seven seats, asking that we have a member present as part of the three-person team that comprises the opposition members. That hadn’t happened before but now with the death of Sandra, we’re asking that there be a member that we appoint,” Ramjattan told this newspaper. Ramjattan is also Guyana’s 3rd Vice President and Minister of Public Security.
Also on Thursday, WPA confirmed that it had submitted Trotman for the post. Executive Member of WPA, Dr. David Hinds had said that the party’s nominee has vast understanding of the electoral system. “We nominated someone who has a lot of experience in that area. He has been the WPA’s point person on matters relating to GECOM for over two decades,” Dr. Hinds told this newspaper.
He noted also that the party was pleased with the President’s decision to consult on the matter before appointing a Commissioner. “The WPA is heartened that the President has consulted widely on this matter. This is part of what we have been struggling for,” he said. General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Amna Ally confirmed that her party had also submitted a nominee for the post, but declined to disclose the name of its nominee.
The Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2000 provides for the appointment of six (6) members of the Commission, in addition to a Chairman. Of the six members, three are appointed by the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment. The other three members are appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition after he has meaningfully consulted the non-governmental opposition parties represented in the National Assembly.
Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin, Bibi Safora Shadick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj are the current members of the Commission headed by the Chairman, Justice (Retired) James Patterson. Jones died late Sunday evening after a period of illness. A distinguished consultant in Human Resources Management, Jones was last year awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement (A.A.), the country’s fourth highest award for her long and effective service in the field of management consultancy. In May 2012, President David Granger, then Leader of the Opposition, nominated Jones as Commissioner of GECOM following the death of former Deputy Mayor, Robert Williams.