Civil society condemns Green for advising Granger to shun Constitution

PSC Chairman Capt. Gerry Gouveia

Recent comments by People’s National Congress (PNC) stalwart Hamilton Green that President David Granger must “put aside” the Constitution and act, continue to draw criticism from sections of society.

Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman, Retired Captain Gerry Gouveia expressed has shock at Green’s comments. He noted that without the Constitution, politicians would run amok.

“I am appalled that a man like Hamilton Green would make such a statement. Because the very foundation of our country and the rule of law is premised on that Constitution. And the Constitution is the only thing that we as citizens have, to corral our politicians and make sure they follow the law.”

Former Mayor Hamilton Green

In explaining the damage that such advice can have on a country, Gouveia pointed out its potential to chase away investors and erode business confidence. Countries that do not respect the constitutional rights of citizens are unlikely to respect the rights of investors.

“The good news is this is a different time. And I believe with every fibre in my body, that the international community will never ever for one minute, one second, condone that type of illegality. So, it’s unfortunate that he said it. The Private Sector is shocked that he would even say it.”

Meanwhile, political analyst and former presidential adviser Ramon Gaskin also criticised Green’s statement. In an interview, Gaskin reminded that President Granger, like all constitutional officers, swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

“President Granger swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, when he became President. So, to say to him now to put it aside, would be in violation of the oath that he took. Secondly, the whole question of putting aside the Constitution does not arise. Guyana has always had a Constitution.”

“There’s a reason why we have it. The Constitution is the supreme law of Guyana. You cannot have a country with no laws and the Constitution is part of the law. So, to talk about putting it aside, is nonsense.”

“The Constitution is the supreme law of this country and Granger is elected to uphold the Constitution and all the Judges are elected to uphold the Constitution. And the head of the military and the police. So, if he wants to put it aside, he’d be up against all those people who are sworn to uphold the Constitution.”

Green, a former Prime Minister under the People’s National Congress (PNC) regime, during an interview on local radio programme “Straight Up Live”, said in a public message to Granger to “…do what is necessary. Put aside the Constitution [and] put aside the laws. You are, at this moment, and will be for a long time, Commander-in-Chief. Take action so that your people, our people and the people of Guyana, will honour you, no matter what it costs.”

His comments were quickly condemned by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who in his weekly opinion piece, The Unruly Horse, posited that calling upon Granger to toss aside the Constitution and the laws, is calling for a coup.