The immunity granted to former presidents will likely be an issue that would later be re-examined as part of the Constitutional reform process, State Minister, Joseph Harmon said earlier today.
Harmon was at the time responding to questions about the stance taken by former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, after he was taken in for questioning by agents of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Tuesday in relation to Pradoville 2 houselots.
Harmon posited that the Constitution is very clear about immunity relating to a sitting president, who takes certain steps while he is in office. He added that despite the level of immunity there are certain exceptions. “You cannot commit an egregious type of act, which is something that an international court or anybody will deem to be as such, and still believe that nothing will happen.”
The Constitution can be looked at in a certain way, Minister Harmon said. He added that the local situation is unique as, “The expectation of the framers of our Constitution was that a President once he leaves office, will basically have a quite more sedate life, but the situation in Guyana is totally different. They have people who have been presidents and now they are in the National Assembly. How could you now claim those immunities while you are actively engaged in day-to-day politics?”
Jagdeo and former Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon were among several former top government and other officials detained by SOCU in relation to an ongoing investigation into the acquisition of lands at Pradoville 2.
Jagdeo had said that these unprecedented actions taken by SOCU are politically motivated and meant to silence the vociferous voices against the wrongdoings of the coalition.
He maintained his long held position that Government’s priorities are backwards as instead of focusing on developing the country, it is employing vindictive and witch-hunting strategies.
“The reason the Government is doing this is because it is failing miserably in every single area across the country. It is facing the wrath of many ordinary people, [People’s Progressive Party] PPP supporters as well as [A Partnership for National Unity] APNU supporters because it has not delivered on any of its promises, it can’t lead this country to a prosperous future. In fact, people’s welfares are declining, more and more people are protesting its actions… the country is in economic disarray and we are seeing a steady insidious move to erode our constitutional rights,” he stated.