State to appeal High Court decision on President’s violation of Constitutuion

Last Updated on Friday, 24 March 2023, 23:00 by Denis Chabrol

Attorney General Anil Nandlall delivering a statement on steps that have been taken to recognise Dr. Walter Rodney. (File picture)

Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Friday said the State would appeal a High Court ruling that President Irfaan Ali flouted Guyana’s constitution when he suspended Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Paul Slowe almost two years ago although there was no mechanism for him to be given a fair hearing.

“A president has a duty to act in those circumstances. That is why he is elected by the people in the absence of constitutional process or in the absence of a vacuum. All executive power goes back to the president and he is required to act in the public’s interest and in the interest of national security. And that is how that is why the President acted,” Attorney General Anil Nandall said.

Mr Nandlall signalled his intention to appeal Justice Gino Persaud’s decision on the grounds that the President enjoys supreme executive authority and so in the absence of a Judicial Service Commission to appoint a Tribunal to afford Mr Slowe a fair hearing, the Commander-i-Chief of the Armed Forces could not have abandoned the process.

The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs is expected to cite the fact that Mr Slowe and others had been charged with fraud, and sexually assaulted a female police officer, had provided his services to the Guyana Police Force over which he had some supervisory authority and that he had allegedly displayed political bias.

Justice Persaud earlier Friday said the Court could not decide on such matters as they would have had to be taken to the Tribunal.

Mr Nandlall highlighted that Justice Persaud emphasised the importance of the PSC being an independent body. However, for the Attorney General, he said Mr Slowe’s legal team included Raphael Trotman and Roysdale Forde. “So right there you see you see a partial Police Service Commission or an organisation that is supposed to be impartial under the Constitution, free from political bias choosing to align itself with a a group of politicians in a politically inspired litigation. Right there,  alarm bells ought to be ringing because in my view, that apparent independent organisation has decided to shed its independence and take a political alignment disqualifying itself from holding an office which requires independence and political neutrality,” the Attorney General said.

Though the President has so fair not kept his promise to appoint the JSC, which is required to appoint a Tribunal, Mr Nandlall said the President had to address efforts by the then PSC to promote several undeserving police officers.