Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, has accused President David Granger of practicing ‘Constitutional Heresy,’ in asserting a stranglehold over the Judiciary, in order to ensure subservient Judges are appointed in order to make rulings in favour of the Administration.
Nandlall made the charges today (May 4, 2017) when he addressed members of the media at a Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) press conference held at Freedom House.
His assertions however, were quickly dismissed by State Minister, Joseph Harmon who subsequently held a post Cabinet briefing and was asked to respond to the former Attorney General.
Nandlall told reporters that the President is now making recommendations to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the appointment of Judges.
According to the former attorney general, the Constitution does not provide for the President to make such unilateral decisions.
He charged that the President must act in a mandatory fashion in accordance with advice proffered by the JSC.
Nandlall suggests the only leeway provided to the President under the Constitution, is to make a request for a new set of advice.
He posits, for the president to have his way with the appointment of Judges, it would mean when persons sue the State there would be no independence of the Judiciary since the appointed Judges will be subservient to the political directorate.
Nandlall was unwavering in his demand that the President must act on the list of names provided by the JSC—submitted over a year ago in March 2016.
The former Attorney General pointed to Article 128 of the Constitution, which according to him, dictates that the President ‘shall,’ in a mandatory fashion, act on the advice given by the JSC.
He insists there is no room for interpretation of the provision ‘shall act.’
Harmon later denied the allegations by Nandlall, saying that the President has indeed acted on the advice that had been supplied by the JSC.
Nandlall told reporters that based on information supplied to him the JSC has already commenced another round of interviews with a view to providing another round of advice for new appointments to be made to the Judiciary.
According to Nandlall, President Granger is currently in violation of the provisions of the supreme law of the land and is in fact engaging in “Constitutional Heresy” in his attempts to direct the work of the JSC.
He suggests there are enough protections against the intrusion of the Executive into the affairs of the JSC which must not allow itself, to be manipulated.
The former attorney general used the occasion to also again lament the state of affairs at the Court of Appeal, which Nandlall said is now creating an untenable situation.
He was speaking to the vacant benches at the Court of Appeal and the fact that no appeals could be heard in the absence of any appointments.
According to Nandlall, currently no appeals can be heard for matters to be transmitted to the Caribbean Court of Justice or to deal with matters being challenged in the High Court.