Internet Radio

Govt violated Constitution in blocking Police promotions- High Court

Chief Justice Roxanne George

Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire on Wednesday ruled that the Executive violated Guyana’s constitution by instructing the Police Service Commission (PSC) not to proceed with the promotion of several senior officers of the Guyana Police Force.

The High Court also awarded GY$200,000 in costs to Attorney-at-Law, Rajendra Jaigobin in whose name the constitutional challenge was filed by Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall on August 17, 2017.

The respondent was Attorney General, Basil Williams who has to pay the costs awarded.

The court agreed with Jaigobin that the Commission, in the exercise of its functions, shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority;

In the case that stemmed from Minister of State, Joseph Harmon writing the Secretary to the Commission on July 26, 2017 advising that President David Granger had directed that no promotions for members of the police force must be considered until further notice, the Chief Justice found that that Minister was in flagrant disregard of the constitution and is unlawful, null, void and of no effect.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

She hoped that the Police Service Commission did not act upon the unconstitutional letter.

The Chief Justice noted that Attorney General Williams did did not defend the matter on the merits but rather sought to hide behind legal arguments such as:  “locus standi” and “that the matter is of academic importance”;

She said it is clear that this issue is not of academic importance but rather it is an issue of high constitutional importance.

In a similar situation Minister Simona Broomes had two years ago issued a similar directive to another Service Commission, but it was later struck down by the High Court because it was a constitutional violation.

“In the face of this flagrant disregard for the constitution which the state conceded two years ago, the state should have done the honourable thing and correct the error rather than seek the defend these proceedings,” Nandlall said the judge stated in her ruling.

In the circumstances, the actions of the Minister Harmon in writing that the President has directed that there be no consideration of promotion of police officers was a blatant disregard of Article 226 of the Constitution which insulates the Police Service Commission from influence and directions of any other person or authority, especially political directions

Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and current Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.

The Attorney General opposed the Application on the grounds that Jaigobin had no locus standi to institute the proceedings.

After the expiration of the life of the Police Service Commission, the Attorney General contended that the court should no longer determine the matter because the life of the commission has expired, therefore the matter is no longer a live matter, that it is of academic importance only, and that the courts do not act futility.

Nandlall said he had argued that the wrong complained against is the violation of the express language of Article 226 of the Constitution, the supreme law of Guyana; the letter of Mr. Harmon violates the doctrine of separation of power and Jaigobin is a Guyanese and that the Constitution is the protection of the citizenry against every form of abuse and that every citizen of Guyana has an interest in ensuring that there is constitutional compliance and every citizen of Guyana has an unfettered right to approach the courts whenever that citizen feels that the Constitution has been violated.

Nandlall said a violation of the constitution can never be classified as an academic question; attempting to direct the commission seems to be a recurrent issue as Minister of Simona Broomes had done so with the Public Service Commission two years ago, and that that matter was of high constitutional importance and as the guardian of the constitution the court ought not to have refused to determine a matter when is it alleged that the constitution is contravened.

  • Yannick23

    This hooligan jhaat is the biggest rogue so he shouldn’t label anyone as a rogue.

  • Lancelot Brassington

    When you hold high office you can sometimes find it prudent to do things that do not conform with accepted norms. When you do these things you get blasted. When you don’t, history and the man in the street can judge you harshly down the line. This is one of life’s realities.
    The fact that the PSC was under PPP control and that the police force used to be in bed with the PPP to such an extent that senior police officers were taking instructions from Rohee on a daily basis (even in the field) was not the matter before the court. The court’s decision therefore, cannot be faulted.
    With the commissioner about to retire the president found himself between the devil and the deep blue sea. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The president did what he felt that he had to do.

    • Col123

      Just what the Holy Book teaches… Eh!..never mind civil laws?

    • rs dasai

      Yes, I found myself between the devil and the deep blue see and I chose my friend, the devil,for I am a ‘righteous’ man. I have done it and I will do it again and again. SHMG.

      • Col123

        Typical Guyanese thinking bro…these brothers bellies would soon be playing music (credit that phrase to Beak) and they wouldn’t give a crap!…the bad thing is that you see that all ova the motherland…well, no one refers to Africa as motherland…but it certainly got to those folks in Zimbabwe…..unfortunately, South Africa is next with Pres Zuma and his virgin wives……and them thirty odd kids he baby daddy…

  • Kassem_B

    ‘Govt violated Constitution in blocking Police promotions- High Court’
    A set back for the Nassau Bahamas Manifesto merchants and the return of the paramountcy of the Party 1966-1992
    Where does the AFC fits in here?
    Were they consulted?

  • StanleyBeresford

    Prudence and strength are necessary for a good leader to make decisions that may or may not conform to constitutional or judicial edicts. However when reality dictates that those edicts are for a moment in time inimical to the interest of a nation or situation, the leaders obligation and responsibility is to let prudence have it’s good and perfect way in directing his actions that benefits the nation. The previous Government did not heed it’s legal and constitutional responsibilities to, not even investigating the brutal deaths of one of It;s ministers and his family and also the deaths of over 400 afro Guyanese. President Granger ought to be commended for the wisdom and strength he displayed in taking the action he did. the law and constitution would not have corrected the travesty that was about to occur.

    • Col123

      You now need a chiropractor after all that BS….and while you are at it, there should be a COI into the deaths of those four hundred Afro Guyanese…so that they can haul those directors, trainers , financiers now holding power in jail…. that slow fyah, mo fyah , gyam fyah days suddenly resolved all by itself…killing Dr Rodney was not enough for this leader with prudence and strength….not forgetting those ballot boxes at GDF HQ!…

  • Col123

    Karma them Indos say bro…

  • Col123

    What asinine about having an investigation into the deaths of 400 Afro Guyanese….or were they trash that we can afford to forget…and why are you rattled about who the financiers, trainers,directors etc are?…you must be worried about those fighting for reparations land ….and how suddenly, all the slow fyah, mo fyah and gyam fyah ended….and who is the real ignorant hole than you who wouldn’t want to know the facts?.
    I have my intelligence bro…it is good and also functional….and I can see your brains prolapsing out your azzhole in your comments!

    • rs dasai

      slow down, pl.

  • rs dasai

    She is there for life until forced out. Truth takes a very long time to unveil itself,
    but eventually triumphs.

  • Gtloyal

    The executive achieved its aim of halting the promotions for the necessary period of time. Thus, they can live with this decision and Anil can live with a few dollars more. The politicians win, the people lose those few dollars and the learnt judge made another decision that has all the effects of water on a duck’s back. In the mean time, life goes on!