The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has responded to the pronouncements made by State Minister Joseph Harmon against the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) as it pertains to their concerns over the Government operating outside of the Constitution in appointing a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice.
Harmon had said he found the GBA’s statement perplexing and “reckless” since according to him the “President explicitly said that he would be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of Guyana.”
Nevertheless, Harmon posited, among other things, that “People should not be afraid that the President will act arbitrarily. The President will never act arbitrarily.”
Highlighting however, several examples of where the Court had to rule against the constitutional breaches by the incumbent Administration, the PPP said, among other things, that “the nation has no expectations that the President will obey the Constitution. No one believes the President’s professed intention to comply with the Constitution.”
See the PPP’s full statement below:
It is already a forgone conclusion that President David Granger resides in his own self-induced
After reading Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon’s response to a Statement made by the Guyana Bar Association (GBA), expressing concerns about the likelihood of a violation of the Constitution by the President, in respect of the appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary and a Chief Justice, one is forced to conclude that Mr. Harmon is entering a mental
state similar to that of the President.
Mr. Harmon describes the GBA statement as “perplexing”, “reckless” and “rash”. He then seeks to convey the impression that the Government and the President have a pristine record of acting in compliance with the Constitution. Indeed, he boasts that the Administration has made timely appointments to the Judiciary.
Has Minister Harmon forgotten the following?
1. That the President refused to act on recommendations made by the Judicial Service
Commission (JSC) to appoint Judges to the High Court and Court of Appeal for nearly
two years, in violation of the Constitution;
2. That Minister Simona Broomes directed the Public Service Commission (PSC) in writing
not to promote certain public officers, in violation of the Constitution, which was so
declared by Chief Justice Chang;
3. That Minister Harmon, himself, claiming to be acting on behalf of the President, directed
the Police Service Commission (PSC) to halt the promotion of Police Officers, in
violation of the Constitution, which Chief Justice George ruled to be unlawful;
4. That the President unlawfully and unconstitutionally revoked leases of over 50 rice
farmers, again declared by the High Court to be illegal;
5. That the Government unlawfully confiscated properties from single mothers, who owned
them by Transport and Certificates of Title, which were again pronounced upon by the
High Court as being unlawful;
6. That the President unilaterally and in violation of the Constitution, appointed a Chairman
of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM);
7. That the President and Mr. Harmon summoned Carvil Duncan, the head of the PSC and
requested that he resign and when he refused to do so they established a Tribunal to
hound him out of office – all in violation of the Constitution;
…and we can go on.
In light of the list of constitutional transgressions above, the nation has no expectations that the President will obey the Constitution. No one believes the President’s professed intention to comply with the Constitution.
His track-record does not permit them to do so. Actions speak louder than words. The commitment by the President to act upon the legal advice he receives by itself is a cause for deep concern, the nation is well aware of the quality of legal advice that
comes from his Attorney General.
Mr. Harmon’s statement itself is a demonstration of the intolerance of the Government to
criticisms, which is part of the constitutional right of free speech.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) rejects the contention that the Leader of the Opposition
refused to offer reasons for withholding his agreement from the President’s nominees for the
positions of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice.
The Leader of the Opposition is on public record as committing to provide those reasons if he is requested to do so.
The PPP calls upon all responsible civil society organisations to join the GBA and to make
public their concerns about and condemnations of, the disrespect with which this Government continues to treat the Constitution, the rule of law and the democratic institutions of the state.
People’s Progressive Party
February 21st, 2018