Guyana’s President David Granger, acting in accordance with Article 225 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana, has suspended Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Carvil Duncan with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the proceedings of the Tribunal, the Ministry of the Presidency announced on Wednesday.
In a letter dated October 10, 2016, the Head of State informed Mr. Duncan that in addition to his role as PSC Chairman, he is also suspended from performing the Constitutional functions as ex-officio member of the Judicial Service Commission, the Police Service Commission and other functions as ex-officio member of the Commissions of the Board of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
Article 225 (6) states that, “If the question of removing the officer from office has been referred to a tribunal under this article, the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the prescribed authority, may suspend the officer from performing the functions of his office, and any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the President, acting in accordance with such advice as aforesaid, and shall in any case cease to have effect if the tribunal recommends to the President that the officer should not be removed from office.”
On September 15, the President in accordance with Article 225 (4) of the Constitution, appointed a Tribunal to inquire, investigate and recommend whether Mr. Duncan ought to be removed from office for inability to discharge the functions of his Constitutional posts. Prior to that, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had written to Mr. Duncan calling on him to explain why a Tribunal should not be appointed but this letter went unanswered. Mr. Duncan claimed that he has never received any correspondence from the Prime Minister. However, the Tribunal is in receipt of evidence that the Prime Minister’s letter was delivered by the Guyana Post Office Corporation.
In a release issued last Saturday, Mr. Duncan alleged that he was offered a “financial package” in exchange for his resignation. Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon has categorically denied the assertion made by Mr. Duncan that he was offered monies by the Minister of State or the President. In fact both the President and Minister Harmon had met with Mr. Duncan in an effort to have him voluntarily vacate the Constitutional positions he holds, since it is undesirable for someone who is facing criminal charges to hold those positions.
Mr. Duncan is currently before the court on fraud charges after it was discovered by auditors that he paid himself approximately $1M and allegedly conspired with Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) of the Guyana Power and Light, Mr. Aeshwar Deonarine, for an unapproved transfer of approximately $27M into the latter’s personal account.
Members of the Tribunal, Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Justice (ret’d) Winston Patterson and Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Robert Ramcharran, are expected to present their report to the President on or before Monday, October 31, 2016.