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High Court might strike out President as respondent in Police Service Commission case

Last Updated on Monday, 30 August 2021, 16:12 by Denis Chabrol

High Court Judge, Gino Persaud on Monday hinted that he  might strike out President Irfaan Ali as a respondent in a case brought by the Police Service Commission (PSC) in a case that challenges the Guyanese leader’s suspension of that body.

“There is no private act in the performance of functions,” the judge said.

Justice Persaud has set September 16 at 3:30 PM for decision in the case brought by Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

Reacting to Justice Persaud’s remark, the Attorney General said “precisely”, and said that PSC lawyer Selwyn Pieters could not “extricate” himself from the dilemma of how does one separate the person from the office.

Mr. Nandlall cited several cases in which the President had been struck off as a respondent. But, he maintained that all of the President’s actions could be challenged in a Court through the Attorney General

After that the decision it is likely that the High Court would proceed with hearing the substantive matter that concerns the refusal by the Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie to issue a Special Promotions Order for the 139 officers that the PSC said it has promoted.  The PSC is challenging the legality of President  Ally’s suspension of the entire Commission and promise to set up a Tribunal to investigate allegations. There is no Judicial Service Commission to appoint the tribunal.

The judge asked Messrs. Nandlall and Pieters to pay attention to Article 182 (1) that deals with the immunities of the President of Guyana who cannot be personally answerable to any court for the performance of functions of his or her office or for any act done in the performance of those functions…”

But Mr. Pieters sought to convince the court that certain alleged actions by Dr. Ally t in the substantive matter could not be properly addressed if he is not named as a respondent. “The President not being a party, it puts us in a bad position where the President is not answerable here for his unconstitutional actions and his actions to undermine the tribunal itself so he is a proper and necessary proper party… His actions are central to what this case is about and that is why he is named as a party,” the lawyer told the High Court.

The Attorney General said the PSC’s lawyer failed to advance proper case law to support his contention, and at any rate several cases had challenged previous decisions by sitting Presidents. “That will not affect the State. My friend seems to be suggesting that the substantive  matter will suffer some disadvantage because of the absence of the President. Absolutely not true!!… We don’t have to have evidence here. The President’s decision is in writing,” he said.