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PPP candidate challenges Broomes’ instruction to Public Service Commission

Euclin Gomes (Guyana Chronicle photo)

People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) candidate, Attorney – at – Law Euclin Gomes is moving to the High Court to challenge an alleged instruction by Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes, to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for it to temporarily cease interviews.

Court documents seen by Demerara Waves Online News today, show that Gomes, who is being represented by former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall, is seeking declarations that the PSC is not to be subjected to the direction or control of any other person or authority in the execution of its responsibility; and “that a letter dated the 28th of May, 2015, directed to the Secretary of the (PSC), by Ms. Broomes advising that the PSC cease operations until instructed otherwise by the President…is in violation of Article 226 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is unlawful, null, void and of no legal effect.”

The motion seeking these declarations is to be moved on June 17th, 2015 in the High Court of the Supreme Judicature.

On Monday the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) argued that a letter by Broomes, asking that the PSC temporarily stop planned interviews, amounted to “executive lawlessness.” Broomes though, is contending that she gave no instruction, but merely requested of the PSC that it put interviews it had planned on hold after it appeared that there was an attempt afoot to handpick persons to fill certain posts.

“It alerted the other staff and everybody started running ‘helta skelta’ asking what was happening, that they were not being interviewed…If I was instructing I would have said you are not supposed to, you must not. Those words never came from me,” argues Broomes.

Included in the court documents, is Broomes’ letter which the applicant suggests amounts to a direction or instruction, as opposed to a request.

In the letter, attached as “exhibit “EG 1,”” Broomes says: “It has been brought to my attention that there are alleged clandestine efforts to fill vacancies within the Public Service and more particularly the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security (now Ministry of Social Protection)…Please be advised that all interviews and meetings of the Commission are to cease forthwith until further as instructed by his Excellency…”

Article 226 (1) of the Constitution provides that: “save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, in the exercise of its functions under this Constitution a Commission shall not be subjected to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

Further, Article 38G (1) guarantees “the integrity of the public service” by providing that “no public officer shall be required to execute or condone irregular acts on the basis of higher orders.”

“The Public Service Commission is an independent Constitutional Commission tasked with the responsibility and power to make appointments to public offices within the Public Service and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices… Article 38G of the Constitution guarantees the integrity of the Public Service and insulates it from political influence…it is clear that that the said letter and its contents are in flagrant violation of the letter, spirit and the intendment of Articles 38G, 201 and 206 of the Constitution of Guyana,” the Nandlall asserts on behalf of Gomes.