We condemn APNU and AFC’s disregard of our constitution in their efforts to silence Mr. Clement Rohee

January 17, 2013 | By | Filed Under Letters 

 

DEAR EDITOR,
The army of lawyers at the disposal of the opposition seems to be useless. Senior opposition leaders of the same party, both purporting to be lawyers, have managed to contradict each other over the same issue. Can we put this down to plain incompetence? The opposition decided to issue a no confidence motion against PPP/C Member of Parliament, Mr. Clement Rohee who is also the Minister of Home Affairs. It is a motion that contravenes his rights as a member of the National Assembly.
The opposition clearly lacks the understanding of the Constitution. The Constitution is the highest law of the land. The National Assembly and the Executive both have to adhere to the Constitution. We would like to think that these “learned” men and women of the opposition have at least read the Constitution. And, if we assume that they have read it and are especially learned men and women of the law, then we can only assume that they wanted to use their natural despotic tactics to silence the constitutional and democratic right of an elected member of the National Assembly.
The ruling given by the Chief Justice, Mr. Ian Chang, is crystal clear. In the most basic terms, the Chief Justice ruled that the National Assembly cannot silence one of its elected members. That such an act is in fact, in contradiction to the Constitution. What the Constitution says is “Sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives…” with Minister Rohee being one of the representatives of the people.
Therefore, the National Assembly does not have the right to suspend an elected Member of Parliament from speaking and introducing bills, simply because he is acting on behalf of the people.This right is shared by all elected members, inclusive of those from the PPP as well as the joint opposition.  Furthermore, the ruling states that it is only the Cabinet that can suffer a vote of no confidence and not an individual member of that Cabinet.
This commandment of the Constitution is what allows for the Separation of Powers, this being a fundamental principle of law which ought to have been known by the “learned” lawyers of the opposition. Is this principle something that the opposition leaders have been inexplicably unable to grasp? Maybe it stems from their natural instinct to govern through tyranny and not lawfully.
By their very misunderstanding of the basic principles of the law and worse yet, not being able to comprehend the Honorable Chief Justice’s ruling; they have once again shown their true colours. It appears that they intend to influence events through sheer bullyism. We daresay that this has been their modus operandi throughout their existence. Let’s not forget that it was under the opposition rule, that the PNC’s flag was flown on the front of the Court of Appeal. A tiger does not change its stripes, in fact, those stripes become more pronounced by time as is evident here via the opposition’s interpretation or clear lack thereof of the Constitution and also the judgment of Chief Justice Chang.
Assuming they (opposition) are indeed learned men and women of the law, what can we conclude? What was the opposition trying to gain from their attempt to gag Mr. Rohee and a similar threat against the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh? Was this simply the act of a schoolyard bully? Were they trying to dictate to President Ramotar, in a clear contradiction of the principle of Separation of Powers in our Constitution, on the makeup of Cabinet? Or was this something more sinister.
If this maneuver was successful, would they have then used these tyrannical tactics to shut up all elected PPP members of Parliament, thereby interfering with the will of the people? It has been the modus operandi of the opposition to shirk democratic norms and practices ever since their party was spawned. Again they have resorted to these dirty tactics, completely ignoring democracy and the Constitution which protects our freedoms.
We the people must never be unclear of how the opposition would walk over the rights of us, ignore the Constitution, ignore the rule of law, and ignore the Honourable Court, for their own sinister motives.  The members of the opposition will stop at nothing and care about no one in their quest for power.
The PYO calls on all members of society, including the Diplomatic Corps, to condemn the action of the opposition, whereby they are using a one-seat majority to rob the people of being meaningfully represented by the duly elected representative of Parliament, Mr. Clement Rohee. If not for the vigilance of the PPP our constitutional rights would be trampled upon by the opposition. They are trying to gag us in the most undemocratic way.
We the people will never sit idly by and allow our rights to be infringed upon and taken away by the opposition.
Progressive Youth Organization

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