Constitution, rule of law must be preserved as constitutional crisis looms – Ram

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With mere days remaining before a possible constitutional crisis, political commentator Christopher Ram has emphasised the need for Guyanese and political parties to come together to uphold democracy and the Constitution in Guyana.

Ram was at the time speaking at a town-hall meeting, where he moderated a panel of representatives from the various political parties, held on Saturday at the Theatre Guild.

“I am saying that we, as political parties, and we, as citizens, will have to take actions to prevent the institutionalisation of our democracy and the usurpation of our Constitution… I’m advocating any legitimate and legal form of action to preserve our Constitution and the rule of law,” he asserted.

The social commentator pointed to a recent discussion programme he was part of with Third Vice President and Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan, who had contended that the coalition Government could invoke the ‘doctrine of necessity’.

“Now here it is, they have brought about a crisis and then decided ‘we will stay in office because of a necessity’,” Ram noted.

He mentioned that Ramjattan had cited a Court of Appeal ruling by Justice JOF Haynes in relation to events in Grenada. But Ram outlined that the prerequisites for a doctrine of necessity states that an imperative necessity must arise because of the existence of exceptional circumstances not provided for in the Constitution; and that there must not be no other course of action reasonably available and any such action must be reasonably necessary in the interest of peace, order, and good government.

“This government has violated all those conditions set out by Justice Haynes in the Grenade Court of Appeal. So, I come back to situation, what are we going to do? Are we going to take the defeatist attitude … or we go back to a situation where we had our Constitution challenged in the 70s and 80s, where the political parties got together through a ‘Patriotic Coalition of Democracy’, I think it was called, and say we will not put up with this?” Ram, also a practising lawyer, questioned.

Furthermore, the political commentator, in lamenting the coalition Government’s ongoing violation of the Constitution, went on to talk about the cases on the no-confidence motion currently before the Appeal Court.

He pointed out that the Judges derive their powers from the Constitution and as such, questioned the manner in which they will act.

“… what will they do? Will they continue to uphold the Constitution which they know has been violated? The Chief Justice has ruled that implication of non-compliance will be violation. Will our (Appeal Court) now respect that usurping government as a legal authority? Will our public officers, the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Finance Secretary, allow the payment of funds that are clearly unconstitutional and unlawful …,” he asked.

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