What this government is getting away with under the pretext of a presidential immunity, the framers of the constitution, including Forbes Burnham, never envisaged or executed. Never before has this country seen such rapacious, lawless and abusive management under the falsely bandied about notion that such is protected under an immunity article.
The People’s Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Donald Ramotar, expressed the view that the President of Guyana needs to have immunity to get the job done, given what is happening under this administration should be cause for concerns by all law abiding Guyanese.
In effect Ramotar is justifying the lawlessness, inequity and injustices that are snuffing the life out of this young nation, under a deliberately misinterpreted and oft abused article. As admitted by Dr. Roger Luncheon, the policies of Freedom House, headed by Ramotar, drives the direction of the government headed by Jagdeo. The willful constitutional misconducts committed by the holder of the Office of President must find resistance by the people. Acts of abuse and lawlessness committed daily on the people, in the name of the people, by the holder of the office being paid by the people, under the misguided notion that he has immunity to do as he pleases and cannot be sanctioned or stopped, continues to be to this nation detriment.
Anyone who takes the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and deliberately sets out to violate the tenets of the Constitution cannot claim immunity to such violations. The so called immunity Article 182 does not have supremacy over other articles in the Constitution, which attend to matters of the management of the state, and rights and wellbeing of the people.
Further, one cannot interpret Article 182 in isolation of Article 97 which speaks to holding the president accountable for “commit[ting] any violation of the Constitution.” If the president was not to be constitutionally held accountable then there would be no basis for the existence of the Constitution and the presence of the Attorney General Office, among whose role it is to see the state is managed in a manner consistent with the Constitution and laws.
It is therefore unfortunate what started out as political propaganda has found mainstream and passive acceptance from a people whose very rights are protected in the Constitution and whom by virtue of the Social Contract are upholding their side of the agreement, such as obeying the law and paying their taxes, but are allowing this administration to violate their side of the contract under the abused guise of Article 182. This in effect has shrouded the society to a resigned posture and complicit acceptance to governmental abuses visited on this nation every day. The spirit and intent of Article 182 can never be one that allows the office holder to be above the Constitution when it similarly subjects the holder to upholding same as taken in the oath of office and expressly stated in Article 97. What the PPP is foisting on this nation is a violation of the social contract and wherein such violation exists, lawlessness reigns supreme.
Our Constitution is influenced by universal declarations, principles and conventions, and our legal system by common law practices, which imply, what goes for one goes for all, i.e. the equality of all in the nation state under the constitution and before the law. Thus any privilege that comes with one’s position
grants no immunity to the violations of the stated tenets.
In fact the immunity to commit lawlessness by some will be successful in so far as they are allowed to continue such abuses of Article 182 and persons abandon their responsibility of holding them accountable to upholding the Constitution and their side of the social contract. In the absence of a contractual relationship between government and the people, tyrannical rule takes over as is presently happening. People cannot adopt a resigned posture and fail to hold the government accountable to its constitutional obligation which clearly sets out how the citizens are to be treated, their responsibility to their personal and societal welfare and shaping the country’s direction consistent with held universal principles and democratic values.
Again, no president enjoys any immunity from upholding the Constitution and s/he should not be made to feel so.
Though our laws are best interpreted by the court and measured by universal/common standards, the misinterpretation of Article 182 in abstention of other articles, leading to the passive acceptance by some and the use as a shield by this lawless administration, Freddie Kissoon’s promise to have Jagdeo appear in court as a witness to the charge he, Jagdeo, brought against him, offers a possibility of frontally addressing this matter through judicial adjudication.
In the meanwhile the survival of this society is dependent on throwing off the shackles of resignation by standing up, speaking out and resisting any excuse of presidential immunity that tramples on our rights and plunders the nation’s resources.
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