Fla­grant dis­re­gard of the con­sti­tu­tion – Chief Jus­tice

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Ch ief Jus­tice, Rox­ane Ge­orge-Wilt­shire has ruled that the Ex­ec­u­tive vi­o­lated Guyana’s Con­sti­tu­tion by in­struct­ing the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion filed in the name of Ra­jen­dra R. Jaigobin by his At­tor­ney-at-Law and the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party (PPP) Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP), Mr. Mo­habir Anil Nand­lall. The ac­tion which was filed on the 17th Au­gust, 2017, against the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Basil Wil­liams in which the fol­low­ing re­liefs were claimed:

(i) a dec­la­ra­tion that the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, a Com­mis­sion es­tab­lished by the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Co­op­er­a­tive Repub­lic of Guyana, in the ex­er­cise of its func­tions shall not be sub­ject to the di­rec­tion or con­trol of any other person or author­ity;

(ii) a dec­la­ra­tion that a let­ter dated the 26th of July, 2017, di­rected to the Sec­re­tary of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, a Com­mis­sion es­tab­lished by the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Co­op­er­a­tive Repub­lic of Guyana, by Mr. Joseph Har­mon, Min­is­ter of State and a mem­ber of the Ex­ec­u­tive, ad­vis­ing that “His Ex­cel­lency, Pres­i­dent David Granger, has di­rected that there be no con­sid­er­a­tion of pro­mo­tions for mem­bers of the Guyana Po­lice Force by the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, un­til fur­ther no­tice … bring His Ex­cel­lency’s di­rec­tive to the im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion of the Com­mis­sion”, is in vi­o­la­tion of Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Co­op­er­a­tive of Guyana, is un­law­ful, null, void and of no le­gal ef­fect.

In court doc­u­ments seen by Cit­i­zens’ Re­port, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral op­posed the Ap­pli­ca­tion on the grounds that:

(i) the Ap­pli­cant had no lo­cus standi to in­sti­tute the pro­ceed­ings.

(ii) Upon the ex­pi­ra­tion of the life of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral con­tended that the court should no longer

de­ter­mine the mat­ter be­cause the life of the com­mis­sion has ex­pired, there­fore the mat­ter is no longer a live mat­ter, that it is of aca­demic im­por­tance only, and that the courts do not act fu­til­ity.

In a writ­ten Rul­ing, which was read to the court Madam Jus­tice Rox­ane Ge­orge-Wilt­shire made the fol­low­ing sem­i­nal find­ings:

that the Ap­pli­ca­tion was jus­ti­fied in the pub­lic in­ter­est and there­fore the Ap­pli­cant has lo­cus standi es­pe­cially in light of the de­vel­op­ment of the law on lo­cus standi;

that the let­ter sent by Min­is­ter Har­mon was in fla­grant dis­re­gard of the con­sti­tu­tion and is un­law­ful, null, void and of no ef­fect;

Her Hon­our ex­pressed the hoped that the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion did not act upon the un­con­sti­tu­tional let­ter;

that it speaks vol­umes that the At­tor­ney Gen­eral did not de­fend the mat­ter on the mer­its but rather sought to hide be­hind le­gal ar­gu­ments such as: “lo­cus standi” and “that the mat­ter is of aca­demic im­por­tance”;

it is clear that this is­sue is not of aca­demic im­por­tance but it is an is­sue of high con­sti­tu­tional im­por­tance;

ad­di­tion­ally, that only two years ago, Min­is­ter Broomes, another Min­is­ter of the Govern­ment had is­sued sim­i­lar di­rec­tions to a Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and al­though the Court with the con­sent of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral had de­clared that that let­ter had been in vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion, a sim­i­lar pal­pa­ble vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion was re­peated by another Min­is­ter;

that in the face of this fla­grant dis­re­gard for the con­sti­tu­tion which the state con­ceded two years ago, the state should have done the hon­ourable thing and cor­rect the er­ror rather than seek the de­fend these pro­ceed­ings.

in the cir­cum­stances, the ac­tions of the Min­is­ter Har­mon in writ­ing that the Pres­i­dent has di­rected that there be no con­sid­er­a­tion of pro­mo­tion of po­lice of­fi­cers was a bla­tant dis­re­gard of Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion which in­su­lates the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion from in­flu­ence and di­rec­tions of any other person or author­ity, es­pe­cially po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tions.

The High Court awarded Cost in sum of GYD $200,000 to the Ap­pli­cant, Mr. Jaigobin. (Cit­i­zens’ Re­port)

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