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Carvil Duncan blocks Tribunal from proceeding with removal hearing

The High Court has ordered the suspension of the work of a Presidential Tribunal that has been established to determine whether Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Carvil Duncan should be removed from office because he is currently facing criminal charges.

In court papers seen by Demerara Waves Online News,  Justice Franklin Holder prohibited Justice Roxanne George (chair of the Tribunal), Retired Justice Winston Patterson and Robert Ramcharran from proceeding to investigate Duncan’s removal from office as a member and chairman of the Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and the Police Service Commission , unless sufficient cause is shown why the said Order or Rule Nisi of Prohibition should not be made absolute.

“The enquiry by the tribunal prejudices the Applicant’s fair trial rights. The decision to investigate the Applicant reflects a premature conclusion and/or opinion by the State that he is guilty even before he is tried and proved guilty before the Court which is properly seized of the criminal charges preferred against him,” Duncan’s lawyer, Anil Nandlall said in court papers.

The grounds are that the inquiry that they have embarked upon is unconstitutionally, unlawfully, illegally, prematurely, prejudicially, contrary to the rules of natural justice, arbitrarily, capriciously and in breach of the Applicant’s legitimate expectation and is null, void and of no effect.

Justice Holder also quashed Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo’s advice to President David Granger that the question of removing Duncan from those Commissions ought to be investigated  on the grounds that the said advice was tendered is unconstitutionally, unlawfully, illegally, prematurely, prejudicially, contrary to the rules of natural justice, arbitrarily, capriciously and in breach of the Applicant’s legitimate expectation and is null, void and of no effect.

Duncan said in court papers that he never received the Prime Minister’s letter asking him to show cause why a Tribunal should not have been set up to investigate his removal from office. He said he was never afforded an opportunity to be heard. “The applicant never received the said letter. The Prime Minster failed when requested to do so in writing to provide any evidence to establish delivery of the said letter to the Applicant,” said Nandlall.

Duncan recalled that Nandlall had informed the Tribunal that it was objecting to it proceeding with the hearing because “no hearing was afforded to me prior to the Prime Minister tendering his advice to the President to launch that my removal from office should be investigated pursuant to Article 225 (4) of the Constitution and therefore, the tribunal itself, was unlawfully established;

that the course of action which the tribunal is embarking upon is in violation of and repugnant to the presumption of innocence accorded to me as a fundamental right and freedom by Article 144 of the Constitution and therefore the tribunal will be acting unconstitutionally, unlawfully and illegally,” he said

Efforts by government to remove Duncan stem from the fact that he is currently facing larceny charges in the Magistrates Court in connection with the payment and his receipt of almost one million dollars in director fees from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).