…after President dubs him not “fit or proper” for GECOM ChairBy Jarryl BryanJust days after the controversial appointment of a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman by the President, one of the main nominees for the post, Major General (retired) Joe Singh, has resigned as a Presidential Adviser.Resigned: Major General (Ret’d) Joe SinghSingh, a former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), had at the time been serving as a Special Adviser to President David Granger. But on Tuesday, the retired Major General officially tendered his resignation to the Ministry of the Presidency.In a brief interview with Guyana Times, Singh declined to detail the exact reasons behind his resignation, but noted that he did not wish to continue in the position. Singh stated that he wanted enough time to efficiently hand over his portfolio.“I submitted my request to the Ministry of the Presidency. I told them that I do not wish to continue my contract beyond the one-month mandatory notice that I have to give,” he related, when contacted.“So I’ve given that notice, that one-month notice, during which time I will ensure my portfolio responsibilities are properly handed over,” Singh, also a former Chairman of GECOM and the Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC), said.Since the resignation of Dr Steve Surujbally last year, there has been an intense search for the next GECOM Chairman. As per the Constitution, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had submitted three lists of six nominees each to the President.The first list, submitted in December of last year, had contained the following nominees: governance and conflict resolution specialist Lawrence Lachmansingh; Attorney-at-Law and outspoken anti-corruption advocate, Christopher Ram; Retired Major General Norman Mc Lean; business executive Ramesh Dookhoo; businesswoman Rhyaan Shah and History Professor James Rose.The second list, submitted in May of 2017, read as follows: Retired Justice of Appeal, BS Roy; Retired Justice William Ramlall; former Magistrate Oneidge Walrond-Allicock; Attorneys Kashir Khan and Nadia Sagar; and Captain Gerry Gouveia.Major General Singh, who has held several positions over the years, including Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was included on the third list of nominees submitted on August 25. The other nominees were Attorneys Teni Housty and Sanjeev Datadin, vocal conservationist Annette Arjune-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.But that list was ultimately rejected by President Granger and on Thursday, October 19, retired Justice James Patterson was sworn in as GECOM Chairman. Patterson was not nominated on any of the three lists and since his unilateral appointment, there has been a crescendo of criticism.A number of individuals and organisations spanning a wide cross-section of society have soundly criticised and condemned the President’s unilateral decision, including the Guyana Bar Association; the Berbice Bar Association; the Private Sector Commission (PSC); the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).Criticism has also come from the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and members of the Diaspora. In addition, the political Opposition filed a legal challenge in the courts on Monday, seeking to revoke Patterson’s appointment.Major General Singh’s experience includes serving as Director General of the Guyana National Service from 1981 to 1990, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force from 1990 to 2000, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission for the 2001 Elections, Executive Director of Conservation International from 2001 to 2005, GTT CEO from 2005 to 2010, and GGMC Chairman from 2010 to 2012.Singh also served as Chairman of the Government of Guyana and the Private Sector Commission’s National Working Group for the Millennium Development Goals from 2005 to 2010, and Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee for the European Union-funded Guiana Shield Initiative from 2005 to 2009.He is also a Fellow of the UK Chartered Management Institute; a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; and an Officer of the Order of the Golden Ark. His commendations include the Military Service Star and national and military awards from Brazil, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Cuba and the Netherlands.Further, as an author, he has contributed articles on a wide range of topics for local, regional and international publications. Singh’s contract with the Ministry of the Presidency will end in December of 2017.