The Appeal Court ruling on the appointment of retired Justice James Patterson as the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been deferred pending further submissions by the parties. Friday’s date was set for decision on the appeal filed by lawyers for People’s Progressive Party (PPP’s) Executive Secretary Zulficar Mustapha to reverse the June High Court ruling by acting Chief Justice Roxane George, who upheld President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of Justice Patterson as GECOM Chairman.However, the Appeal Court panel, led by Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, informed the appellant represented by Attorney Anil Nandlall and the defendant Attorney General Basil Williams that they would have to make further submissions before a decision can be handed down.Justice Cummings-Edwards explained that the court is considering four areas of law which she would want the parties to address before a ruling a made.“The Chancellor and the two [Appeal] Judges indicated to us that while they’re ready with their ruling, they need us to address certain identified issues, which they will communicate to us during the course of [Friday] afternoon. They want our assistance, they want our submissions on these identified isssues – we don’t know what they are yet but hopefully we get them before the end of today,” Nandlall told reporters outside the Appeal Court after the hearing.Nevertheless, the matter will be called again on Tuesday when both Nandlall and Williams are expected to present their written submissions, as well as oral if necessary, on the four areas to be the Court has asked to be addressed.Last October, the PPP’s Executive Secretary filed an injunction to have the court rescind the unilateral appointment of Justice Patterson, days after his appointment.However, after a several months of engaging the High Court, the Chief Justice on June 8, 2018, ruled that the Constitution of Guyana allows for the President to unilaterally appoint someone to fill the position of GECOM chair.Apart from asking that the appointment of Patterson be rescinded, the PPP had argued that he is unqualified for the post, and had petitioned the court to order the President to choose a person from the 18 names submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.But the Chief Justice, in her ruling, has stated that there is nothing before the court to support a finding that the President had acted unlawfully or irrationally in resorting to the proviso to Art 161(2); and there is nothing to rebut the presumption that Justice Patterson is qualified to be appointed to the post of Chairman of GECOM.According to the Chief Justice, the Opposition did not produce evidence to support the contention that Patterson was unqualified for the position. She added that even if she had agreed with the contention that the appointment was unlawful, it would not have been “permissible for this court to usurp the function of the President by directing him to choose a nominee from the third, or any, list.”However, she did outline in her ruling that the President should have given reasons for his rejection of the 18 nominees submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in three separate lists, all of whom were rejected.In the Appeal, Nandlall on behalf of his client said that the learned Chief Justice misconstrued and misinterpreted the role of the Leader of the Opposition in Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and as such, is asking the court to overturn the High Court ruling.
“One of the things I always tell my communities, whether it’s communities, whether it’s anybody writing grants, whatever, make sure your MLA knows about it,” Pimm says. “And this particular one, I happened to be speaking at the breakfast Rotary Club one morning, and Clinton was there doing a presentation and I thought, ‘man is that ever a good project’, so I went and started tracking down some information and we were able to come forward with some pretty good support.”Ackerman adds that the project was important to jump on because the Sport Council and DistrictSkateBoardPark had a plan for the skate park and knew how to go about executing it.“They’re young people and they had a dream – a good dream – and what was really important is they did not just say we have a dream and walked away,” Ackerman argues. “They had a dream and took ownership of it and got involved. Clinton and his group really helped us to make this all happen. It’s easy once you have all of that information to write all of the grants.The group worked with Newline Skate parks on the design of the project, and the company has been involved with the task since the beginning. Advertisement A number of guests were on hand for the ceremony including MLA Pat Pimm, Councillor Byron Stewart, Andy Ackerman of the North Peace Economic Development Commission, and Clinton Green, who helped spearhead the project.Green says it’s a great feeling to be at this point and he looks forward to the completion of the project.“I’m very excited; I can’t wait to ride it. I’m glad all the hard work that everyone put into it paid off.”- Advertisement -The project was important to Green for a number of reasons, in particular to give young people the chance to be the best that they can be.“I just want to see the youth in town have a place to put all their potential [to use], and have a place to progress and be safe in the process.”Pat Pimm said a few words before shovels went into the ground. He says he makes a point to inform his constituents that if they have projects in the works, to let him know so he can try to be of some assistance. The province chipped in with $448,000 towards the task.Advertisement