Govt engrossed in ‘executive lawlessness’ – Ramkarran

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Government’s rapid move to repossess the Red House reeks of executive lawlessness and is reminiscent of the emblematic hooliganism and bullyism of the People’s National Congress (PNC).

These were the sentiments expressed by non-partisan political commentators who have been critical of both the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the incumbent PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Administrations.

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran described the manner in which Government rushed to repossess the Red House as the “height of executive lawlessness”.

He contended that the rule of law was completely ignored, firstly when Government moved to take repossession by bypassing the court.

“No Government official has the power to dictate the expulsion of occupants of State or any other property. If the Government requires possession, it must obtain an order of the court. That is the rule of law. It applies to the President, the Government and the citizen,” he explained.

Ramkarran, who is also a Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) Board Member, expressed “if the Government is aggrieved by the possession of Red House by the CJRC, it is the height of lawlessness for it to send its staffers to eject the occupants and seize possession. The same APNU/AFC, even the PNC and PNCR before it, popularised the phrase ‘executive lawlessness’. The attempt to eject the occupants of Red House is a straight case of the height of executive lawlessness.”

He also raised concerns over how the series of events unfolded.

President David Granger had announced that Government would seek to repossess Red House from the CJRC on the basis of advice that the lease was invalid and he gave the occupants 48 hours to vacate the premises.

However, the day after this announcement was made, the PPP on behalf of the CJRC moved to the courts seeking a conservatory order to prevent Government from taking over Red House.

But Attorney General Basil Williams told the court that Government had already repossessed Red House and the conservatory order would be in vain.

Around this time, a group of men wearing shirts with the “Ministry of the Presidency” sign, invaded Red House, ripped down its signboard and began to bar the gates. After PPP members and Police arrived on scene, a confrontation ensued and the men eventually left.

But Ramkarran believes this was just a ploy to validate the Attorney General’s claims.

“I know of my own knowledge that the claim that Government was in possession of Red House was palpably false. I spoke to staff of the CJRC by telephone from the CJRC at about 4 pm (16:00h) and they were in the Red House carrying out their normal activities. It could be, because of the uncanny connection, that in order to create conditions on the ground, as reported by the Attorney General in court, that the premises were invaded by persons wearing shirts with the insignias ‘MOTP”, assumed to be ‘Ministry of the Presidency’,” he surmised.

Ramkarran said the attempted unlawful seizure of Red House, unlawful restriction of the movement of the occupants, and the unlawful sequestration of its property bring back sad memories of times past when the rule of law in Guyana was being severely undermined as a result of political oppression and authoritarian rule.

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