Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Jagdeo has stated that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) parliamentarians’ boycott of President David Granger’s speech in the National Assembly on Thursday was aimed at sending a “strong signal” to the President and the Executive that constitutional protection should not be treated lightly.
He stated that clearly, the suspension of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Carvil Duncan is ominous for the future of democracy in Guyana.
He opined that the racket surrounding Duncan’s charge has been treated in a cavalier manner by the Administration – one that is ominous for the future of democracy.
“Carvil Duncan for whatever he is has constitutional protection by virtue of the offices he currently holds and we believe in the doctrine of the separation of powers, the foundation of our democracy. So when the Executive deals with people who are protected by the Constitution they have to deal in a manner that is prescribed not in a manner that directs people or intimidates them,” he expounded.
He added that the PPP/C holds the opinion that the suspension of Duncan does not exhibit a “fair treatment that is required in this case”.
He stated that the establishment of a tribunal and the alleged bribery and threat made by the President are an affront to natural justice; a threat to the presumption of innocence because the court is still hearing the case.
“The indecent haste to get rid of Carvil Duncan is unbelievable but by itself may not mean much but Carvil Duncan has all these constitutional protections so what about ordinary citizens,” he noted, questioning who will protect the ordinary man if the Government can swoop down on a person that has constitutional protection and suspend them without a decision from the court on allegations levelled against him.
Duncan will be moving to the High Court to challenge the authority of a tribunal which will determine whether he should be removed from his post.
On Monday, Duncan and his lawyer Anil Nandlall were seen exiting the tribunal at the Training Centre of the Ministry, although it was still in session. Duncan excused himself from the hearing, since his application for the hearing to cease was overruled.
Duncan will move to the High Court on three grounds: that there are criminal proceedings pending in the Magistrate’s Court, Duncan never received a letter from Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo calling on him to show cause why the tribunal should not be established, and that his client has been called before tribunal whose Chairman is a sitting High Court Judge – of whom Duncan exercises supervisory jurisdiction over.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the tribunal was set up to inquire, investigate and recommend whether Duncan ought to be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of the said office, after he refused to gracefully vacate the office.
Harmon has since rejected claims that the Government offered money in exchange for his resignation as Chairperson of the PSC in light of his court charges.
He indicated that meetings were indeed held where Duncan was “gracefully” asked to vacate the positions he currently holds on several constitutional service commissions given his current trial for allegedly stealing $984,900 and conspired to steal $27,757,500 from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).