Home / Politics / AG’s response to GECOM case is replete with irrelevance – Nandlall

AG’s response to GECOM case is replete with irrelevance – Nandlall

Former Attorney General, Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall filed an injunction in the High Court to rescind President Granger’s unilateral appointment of retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on the grounds of unconstitutionality.
The hearing is slated for November 16, 2017 before Chief Justice (Acting) Roxanne George-Wiltshire.

Attorney General Basil Williams, the respondent in the proceedings, has since submitted an affidavit in response to the legal challenge – which Nandlall believes is replete with irrelevance and does not address the issues of the case.

“What is most important is the continuous contention by this government that the President’s actions are beyond the review by the Court and that is reflected in this affidavit,” he told a press conference on Saturday last.

Indeed, a major point in Williams’ response is that the President is immune from answering to the court. The document argues that “the President shall not be personally answerable to any court for the performance of the functions for his or her own office or for any act done in the performance of those functions…”

But Nandlall contended that, if one understands the philosophy of that particular response, then it would answer a lot of questions one may have about the government’s disregard of the Constitution.

“You have a government who believes that its head is abovr the rule of law, beyond the constitution and therefore that President can do as he wishes and the rule of law cannot apply to him,” he explained, noting that this is a serious problem in a democracy.

He pointed out that this philosophy is what might have inspired the President to belittle the Chief Justice’s ruling on the GECOM issue as “her own opinion”. He said same was done regarding the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) where executive instructions were passed to a constitutional body in stark violation of the Constitution.

“That philosophy that you are seeing acting out comes back to the days of political dictatorship and it comes back to the days of party paramountcy and as I continue to say, the Constitution, the rule of law, as well as democratic norms and practices are a burden to this government,” he posited.

Nandlall added “that is how a political dictatorship behaves and that is what you’re seeing here.”

He argued that the argument put forward by the Attorney General is especially irrelevant given that the court already ruled on the matter in the Marcel Gaskin case. However, the President nonetheless acted in violation of the court ruling when he appointed Justice Patterson as GECOM Chairman – without giving reasons for rejecting the 18 nominees submitted by Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo.

Meanwhile, the PPP is hoping to overturn Patterson’s appointment through the legal challenge.

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