EYEWITNESS: Missing the point…


…and the boat on judiciary

Here we go again! Gridlock! This time it’s on the appointment of the Chancellor and Chief Justice – the two highest officials in the Judiciary. As your Eyewitness has taken pains to belabour, one of the unfortunately unwelcome features of our system of governance is the fusion of the Executive with the Legislative branch – leaving only the Judiciary to prevent a permanent, existential dictatorship after every “democratic” election.

If the Executive were to have unfettered power to appoint the members of the Judiciary, then Lord help us!! For this reason, the President can only appoint ordinary judges, who’ve been nominated by the Judicial Service Commission.

For the aforementioned two apex officials, there’s a special CONSTITUTIONAL (Art 127 (1) ) feature which brings in the Opposition Leader: he HAS TO AGREE to the nominees of the President. There is absolutely no ambiguity on this one!!
This is a critical feature meant to increase the impartiality and integrity of the Judiciary on the assumption that, in a country as fractured as Guyana, there at least ought to be agreement on that final bulwark of our democratic governance by the “two sides”.

Recognising, however, that the Opposition Leader and the President might not find agreement on the nominees, and to prevent the former from having an absolute veto on these key appointments, the Constitution makes provision (Art 127 (2) ) for the President to make temporary appointments until agreement can be reached. The selected individuals are said to be “acting”.

However, as we found in the last set of appointments, the “acting” appointments lasted for more than a decade!!! Honestly, this doesn’t do the Judiciary any good as far as reinforcing its legitimacy to the populace. Only recently, the President of the CCJ – and our Bar Association — had to bemoan the then status quo, only to have no change when the incumbents retired and new appointments were made. If two generations of Guyanese will not have the experience of witnessing substantive Chancellors and Chief Justices in action, they can be forgiven for believing that that branch of Government is as polarised and partisan as the fused Executive/Legislative branch.

On the Opposition Leader’s rejection of the President’s two nominees, the President says he’ll have to seek “legal advice”. From whom? His Attorney General? The fella’s already steered him wrong on so many occasions, in spite of being given five legal “old heads” as advisors!! And advice about what? The President has only one route open to him – the “acting” route. To suggest otherwise, as the President’s spokesperson has done, is only to muddy the judicial waters and further delegitimise the credentials of our Judiciary.
Let’s not have our top Justices belittled as being qualified only for the Academy Awards!

…on Dutch Disease

It’s hard to believe someone can stick their foot into their mouth as often as Raphael “Nassau” Trotman! It’s as if he enjoys hopping around on the solitary foot left!! Addressing the Oil Summit, the man whose Ministry co-sponsored the event told the participants that Guyana’s focus isn’t only on oil, but also on food production to ensure a balanced economy!!

He certainly must’ve had the foreigners rolling on the floor laughing their a55 off!! These are business professionals. Before coming to Guyana they would’ve had such thorough briefings on the Guyanese economy as to make Trotman’s head spin!! Every one of them knows that “Dutch Disease” – where other sectors of the economy are neglected in favour of oil — is the existential threat facing Guyana; and that the Government fired over 5,700 workers in agriculture with no plan in place to employ them in alternative food production!!
“Nassau” Trotman confirmed he’s all bluff and no substance. ROFLMAO!!!

…on advice

OK, so we’re the new kid on the (oil) block. “Nassau” Trotman’s oil contract proved THAT!! But what’s with the President and his oil advisor? Why have a professional available and ignore his advice??

Is it all a pappy show …like the sugar CoI?


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