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High Court dismisses GPSU’s challenge of Public Service Commissioner’s appointment

Last Updated on Friday, 28 July 2023, 16:31 by Denis Chabrol

Mr Mohandatt Goolsarran (left) and President Irfaan Ali

The High Court on Thursday dismissed a case by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) that challenged the constitutionality of one of the parliamentary nominees to sit on the Public Service Commission (PSC), according to the Attorney General’s Chambers.

House Speaker Manzoor Nadir and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall were each awarded court costs of GY$750,000 each.

After hearing oral arguments from the Attorneys-at-Law for all the parties, the AG Chambers said Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire found that the Applicant’s case contained not a “scintilla of evidence, was unmeritorious, frivolous and vexatious”.

The GPSU had contended that Mr Mohandatt Goolsarran should not have been appointed because the Public Service Senior Staff Association (PSSSA) that nominated him was not recognised by the Trade Union Recognition Board.

The Attorney General, aided by a battery of lawyers, disagreed with the GPSU’s contention and  highlighted that Article 200(1) (b) of Guyana’s Constitution states that the Public Service Commission shall consist of six members, two of whom shall be appointed by the President “upon nomination by the National Assembly after it has consulted such bodies as appear to it to represent public officers or classes of public officers.”

“It was argued by the Attorney General that the framers of the Constitution deliberately and intentionally used the term ‘such bodies as may
appear’ in order to lend to the widest possible interpretation. Any attempt to narrow this clear intention would violate or fetter the supremacy of the Constitution. Accordingly, an attempt to use the Trade Union Recognition Act to constrict the language of the Constitution is without any basis and would be an obvious unconstitutional exercise,” the Attorney General’s Chambers said in a statement.

Mr Nandlall and his team also said that based on the time that the PSSSA had been allowed to successfully nominate a PSC member, there was no legal basis for the GPSU to challenge that process. “For the past 20 years, the PSSSA has been invited to submit nominees to
the Public Service Commission, which it has accordingly done, and its nominees have correspondingly been accepted, adopted by the outer Assembly, and thereafter appointed to the Public Service Commission. Accordingly, the GPSU is now, after 20 years, estopped from now instituting a claim,” the statement added.

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July 2023