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PPP, Political Scientist, Ramon Gaskin lambaste President Granger for rejecting Chief Justice’s ruling on GECOM Chairman

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Headquaters- Freedom House.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Political Science Professor David Hinds and outspoken political commentator, Ramon Gaskin on Wednesday slammed President David Granger for virtually dismissing a High Court ruling on how the Constitution should be interpreted for the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Gaskin was particularly angered at the fact that Granger earlier Wednesday dismissed Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire’s position that while the President was not required to give reasons for rejecting the Opposition Leader’s nominees, the Guyanese leader should do so in the interest of democracy and good governance.

Gaskin noted that Article 111 (1) of Guyana’s Constitution states that “In the exercise of his functions  under this Constitution or any other law, the President shall act in accordance with his own deliberate judgment except in cases where by this Constitution or by any other law, he is required to act in accordance with the advice or on the recommendation of any other person or authority.” In this case, Gaskin noted that the President is required to consult with the Opposition Leader and in that context he ought to give reasons as part of the consultative process.

President Granger’s apparent position is that he was not prepared to accept the Chief Justice’s interpretation. Granger said, “The Chief Justice gave an interpretation based on her perception of the Law and I will continue to act in accordance with my perception of the Constitution; that is to say I will not appoint somebody who I do not consider fit and proper.”

Ramon Gaskin

Ramon Gaskin heaped criticism on President Granger for apparently rebuffing the High Court’s interpretation as was requested by city businessman, Marcel Gaskin.  Ramon Gaskin said the President has no other option but to carry out the decision of the court. “The President has to carry out the decisions of the Court faithfully and unfailingly and that is part of his Oath of Office- to uphold the Constitution and the decision of the Honourable Court and any departure from that would mean we are going down a slippery slope of authoritarianism. We have been there already and we cannot go back there,” Ramon Gaskin said.

Professor Hinds warned President David Granger against a narrow and strict constructivist interpretation of the Constitution and instead accept the Chief Justice’s broader contextual reading of the supreme law.

“What it sets up here is a disagreement between two branches of government on the interpretation of the Constitution and this would be most interesting. In the final analysis, it is the judicial branch that has the final say on the interpretation of the Constitution so this is interesting to see where it goes,” WPA Executive member, Professor Hinds told Demerara Waves Online News.

Favouring the Chief Justice’s view that the eligible category of persons should not be largely restricted to judicial persons but to any other fit and proper person who meets the threshold of independence and impartiality,  Hinds called for political consensus on who is appointed GECOM Chairman for fear that the loser could claim being cheated. “My view is that the President should be a little bit more flexible in terms of his approach to the appointment of Chairman of GECOM. I think in the end it will serve all of us well rather than him sticking to a narrow reading, a narrow strict legal reading of the Constitution,” said Hinds who spoke in his personal capacity and not an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance.

The Political Science Professor said the President’s stance sets up a tug-o-war between the President and the Opposition Leader because Jagdeo would take strength from the Chief Justice’s ruling as the country heads into the crucial 2020 general and regional elections. Hinds said the Opposition Leader appears to be baiting the President into unilaterally appointing the GECOM Chairman because he would give the PPP an opening that that is part of a grand scheme to rig the elections.

President David Granger

The PPP’s Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall charged that the President’s position amounted to “an aggravated assault on the doctrine of Separation of Powers, the Constitution itself and on the Chief Justice of this country. “They are the most intemperate and contumacious utterances emanating from a Head of State and directed to a Chief Justice in the English speaking Caribbean in recent memory,” said Nandlall who is a former Attorney General.

“The President must understand that in the face of a pronouncement from the Judiciary on legal and constitutional matters, his obdurate and obstinate personal perceptions of what the Constitution says or means fade into oblivion and must yield in deference to those judicial pronouncements, whether he agrees with them or not. That is the unconditional and unqualified duty of every citizen of this land, without exception,” Nandlall added.

Chief Justice, Roxanne George.

Unfortunately, the President’s remarks are not isolated. To understand the gravity of this situation it is necessary to examine the President’s remarks against a larger mosaic of similar conduct from other functionaries in his Administration. The Attorney General, the Chief Legal Advisor of the Government, is on record of unleashing a most scandalizing attack on the former Chancellor of the Judiciary, as a result of a recent decision delivered by the Court of Appeal of which the Chancellor was the President. This was followed by the very Attorney General launching another contemptuous tirade against a High Court Judge in open court causing that Judge to unceremoniously walk off the bench and lodging a letter of complaint with his superiors.

Nandlall pointed to the legal track-record of the more than two-year old David Granger-led coalition, saying that Guyana appeared firmly on the road to authoritarian rule. “They all support a contention which I have consistently advanced over the last two years that there is a rise of authoritarianism in Guyana and that the authoritarian perceives democratic and constitutional institutions as nothing but obstacles. This recent incident has again vindicated my contentions.”

The PPP Executive member called on all Guyanese to protect and preserve the independence of Guyana’s Judiciary and similar independent institutions. “It is only the Judiciary and those institutions which will restrain this Administration from continuing to violate the rule of law, our Constitution and the civil liberties of our citizens. We need them now more than ever,” he said.

Prior to the President’s position on Thursday, Marcel Gaskin had publicly indicated that he would be appealing an aspect of the Chief Justice’s ruling because she ventured into an area that she was not asked to examine.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Demerarawaves has devoted precious space to an opinion sharer who completely ignored the fact that the CJs ruling on this matter is point blank open-ended.

    There are no real winners in this ruling that has both the President disagreeing with one aspect of it and Gaskin looking to appeal another aspect of it. Maybe the Chief Justice doesn’t understand the issue?

    • Kassem_B

      ‘The coalition has its flaws, but to put Jagdeo and the PPP back in government would make those flaws look like innocent mistakes.’
      Is that your legal argument?
      No limit to your hatred to others?

      • Emile_Mervin

        Are you saying that it amounts to hatred to be critical of Jagdeo? So what does it amount to when I am critical of Granger? And if you can’t distinguish legal argument from basic opinion, why ask for a question whose answer you may not comprehend? . )

      • eddie

        I don’t think EM was been racist here, he stated a fact that I totally agree with PPP supporter will be well serve if they can look at how there leader was selected/elected (lol) and say it was a democratic process before you point finger at one becoming a dictator and if you don’t get my drift you will not be shooting blanks

    • Col123

      These spaces are precious alright….Precious space to peddle your morbid hate for your BFF , his mansion and the others that you inherently envy with your usual g dribble…

    • eddie

      Guyana was under authoritarian rule with Jagdeo as President and Ramotar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT you are ok to have this president flout those same trait,,,,,,

      which was why Nandlall could have threatened to have Kaieteur News offices attacked by gunmen and he still kept his job,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, DON’T forget they have the AG and what is that former police commissioner ministry on tape too or do we just give into that as boys been boys

      • Emile_Mervin

        Yuh killin meh wid yuh shadow baxin’ Ed! LOL! Tek a Guinness wid an egg, some vanilla, and grated nutmeg in a blender. Pour everyting in wan glass, put in three ice cubes, let it chill, and leh we talk bout dis betta, eh? Ahrite! 🙂

        • eddie

          nah too old for dat dam Guinness it will only get me in trouble!!!!!!!!!!!!! the wifey don’t play that rass anymore we are back at missionary

  • Klip Scat

    What I got from this is that the cj has issues…… mentally ……..don’t really understand what the pluck she ruled

  • Truth !

    granger must abide with the decision of the courts
    he cannot use his own interpretation to flout the constitution
    he is not a lawyer
    he can accept,annoint,appoint anyone he wants – that’s his prerogative
    he can reject anyone or everyone on jagdeo lists
    he should have kept his mouth shut and just appoint someone of his choice rather than open a bottomless cesspit

  • eddie

    na mek rass bai!!!!!!!!!!! we are there before trump ,,,, this one time we beat the American in the race, we stink and will always be stink until we the people say enough is enough and see problem as one Guyanese and stop looking through colored glasses only then the world will come to us the citizen side but until then the PPP and PNC will have there way with us and the big boys will only look at there special interest … this two party has done so much to Guyanese I wish they just go away

  • Col123

    Them Indos have new massa now… until next fifty years…

  • Col123

    That is true SC…I agree….except that they have an obligation to recuse themselves, if they are worth a dime.

  • Gtloyal

    Mr Hinds, Mr Gaskin and others here; you are all discussing an interesting issue but one that cannot affect the President’s stand. The president can accept that candidates can be “fit and proper” without having the qualifications of a judge and yet reject the nominees. And that is because the constitution clearly states that the chosen one would have to be “not unacceptable” to the president and not to any court or any other person. That is personal. The person must be acceptable to him. No court can make anyone acceptable to another. The court may make him accept its decision to name a selected person but that would not make that person “not unacceptable” to the president, thus, such a decision would not be in accordance with the constitution.
    The constitution goes on to authorize the president to appoint a person of his own choosing if the list is not “as provided for”. And because of the “not unacceptable” clause, the president can always say it was not “as provided for”.
    Its not what you think it says, or should say, it is what it says!
    Sorry guys but there is only one solution to this: rewrite that part of the constitution.

  • Emile_Mervin

    I never asked Jagdeo any favor. I was open to Jagdeo as Guyana’s youngest President, at 35, in 1999. He represented our best hope for a break from the past racial politics, having been born in January, 1964, while the disturbance took place in December 1964.

    Instead, the dude became another Burnham, but worse. Greed, arrogance and vindictiveness characterized his presidency. Had he done right by the people of Guyana instead of running a criminally corrupt government, I’d be rooting for him for a rjird, fourth and fifth term, if only because Guyana has been crying out for development since 1966.

    You have to understand my criticism of Jagdeo is in his abject failure to not only govern in the people’s interest, but to heed repeated calls by so many others, in and out of the PPP, to stop and change course. That refusal to change us what did it for me, because even after the PPP lost, he ran Rohee and Ramotar out so he can regain power. This guy has no intention of changing and that makes him a dangerous time bomb for Guyana.

    I have been critical if Granger, but you never question me on that score. Why?

    • eddie

      kassem B, if I may add to EM blog do you think Ralph, Chanderpaul, Feroze and may others were capable member of PPP that Jaggie ostracized and can you think of a reason why he did that, I will tell you those few that I mention are people of integrity there are not the typical YES men like some of us that flood this site with our antiquated view like the PPP executive core that have no backbone and cant miss an oppurinity to flay Moses when they are not any different because they all seeking the same thing power and a chance to stroke there ego with no vision for the general populate, how is it ok for him to flay Janet ( a founding member of the PPP) cause it’s his time now she had her chance but he cant relinquish that power so others can carry on, where is the outrage now form all of us and for Donald if I was one of his kids it would not have been a proud moment for me to see my father allowing himself to be used like that.

  • Cotton_Candy

    It seems Granger has no sense or should I say is full of nonsense. He is not ready for the position he has taken because he is not helping the country and citizens in any way, shape or form. Granger why have you dismissed the High Court ruling on how the Constitution should be interpreted?

  • Col123

    Who is questioning that US embassy leaks on Granger?