The Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) has issued a strongly worded statement calling out President David Granger for what they describe as his hypocritical stance on the Judiciary.
According to the Party, while the President spoke glowingly about the doctrine of separation of powers, his actions, prior to him articulating such, have been in stark contradiction of it.
See their full statement below:
President Granger’s pronouncements on the separation of the powers of the state between the Executive, the Judiciary and Legislature on May 17, 2017, for the uninitiated may have been reassuring as it no doubt was designed to do. However for the PPP, the PPP/C Parliamentary Opposition and other citizen monitors; these pronouncements are merely rhetorical and in stark conflict with reality.
The occasion chosen to make these pronouncements is ironical if not laughable. No less an event as the swearing ceremony at State House of two appellate judges and the representative of the Public Service Commission, Patrick Yarde, ( the man hand-picked to replace Chairman Mr. Carvil Duncan) on the Judicial Service Commission.
High sounding words on this occasion that “The supremacy of the Constitution, the legitimacy of government, the efficacy of political democracy and the safety and felicity of our people would be impossible without the existence of an independent judicature. The judicature is fundamental to good governance, because it protects the people’s rights and prevents the emergence of autocracy” were designed to mask reality. And more pointedly, may one day be prophetic as an autocracy is fast emerging!
The fact that these statements were made in the public face that knows that Granger withheld the appointment of four judges recommended by the Judicial Service Commission, and after an unconscionable delay of over a year, in violation of the same constitution he was quoting. He finally appointed 2 appellate judges, one of whom was not on the original list.
The Executive’s cloven hoof is exposed; it is only after the former Chancellor retired and the President had succeeded in shuffling around the acting appointments of the Chancellor and the Chief Justice, like a chess game, did he proceed to appoint these two judges. The fact that all this caused the Appeal Court to not meet since February 2017 as there was only one judge on the bench is reprehensible. Was this part of the greater plan to ensure that the election petition of the PPPC would be further delayed after almost 2 years?
Despite quoting the Constitutional provisions and the statement that “the Executive branch of government has no interest in interfering in the adjudicatory role of the judiciary…“The Executive has taken steps to ensure that the judiciary does not feel beholden to the government of the day…,” the executive branch has interfered and has been intimidating the judiciary.
How can the President defend his Attorney General’s outrageous behavior in Justice Holder’s courtroom and offend the Judge who had called for a public apology? In other words he was saying to the judiciary that he determines what is in contempt of court and since it is not, then no apology is required.
But none of this should come to a surprise to anyone, it is the President who brought a Tribunal to remove Carvil Duncan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, and, Mr. Duncan’s approach to the courts for protection was being heard by no other than Justice Holder! The fact that the Prime Minister called for the Judge to recuse himself on the eve of the case being heard where the Attorney General would have had to apologise or not be allowed in the courtroom, is not mere coincidence. The resulting Judge’s decision to recuse himself from the case is also not coincidental. This has led to another case delayed by executive interference and intimidation of the judiciary.
Addressing the Judicial Service Commission, the President said that the Commission is obliged to ensure that its recommendations for appointments will be made only on the bases of clearly defined criteria applied in assessing the appropriateness of appointees” No Mr. President the appointments are based on merit and integrity not need for criteria such as those he has created for the appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, as there are PSC and JSC rules that already clearly guide on these issues.
And then we have the long delay with regards to the appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, despite pellucid constitutional provisions. This is not just about the fetish for control by the APNU/AFC executive, but more sinister is the fact that there has been no Elections Commission meeting since August 2016 thereby allowing the election machinery to be unsupervised by a constitutional Commission with a remit outlined in detail in the constitution.
The same interference and control of the legislature by the executive is evident at every sitting.
Either the President has succumbed to believing his own propaganda or he believes that the public is not smart and suffer from a terribly short memory. His government’s practices are in direct contradiction with what he said. The Executive continues to infringe on the separation of powers of both the legislature and the judiciary. And yes Mr President we are sliding towards an authoritarian state, thanks to your actions!