Aug 27, 2012 News Comments Off on Non-appointment of Ombudsman a mockery of the constitution
Annually, a budgetary allocation is made for the Office of the Ombudsman but its substantive office remains empty. Months into his presidency, Donald Ramotar has not appointed an Ombudsman, which is a constitutional body.
To this end, Leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan believes that the President is acting unconstitutionally. He stressed that the non-appointment of the Ombudsman makes a mockery of the democracy of Guyana’s constitution.
“We can only row and make statements and that we have been doing. A number of persons have talked on this matter. At the budget debates a number of speakers indicated that they have been taking moneys out of the budget for the Office of the Ombudsman. We have a number of persons being paid as staff, but no Ombudsman,” Ramjattan said.
According to the Commonwealth Caribbean Public Law by Professor Albert Fiadjoe, the system of Ombudsman gives encouragement to open government, and to that extent, helps to bring transparency to the decision making process.
It enables complaints of maladministration by Government and injustice meted out to citizens to be investigated.
The politician pointed out that Guyana has the available expertise to fill the post of the Ombudsman.
He said, “Any former judge, any person with senior managerial capacity, any person who is right thinking and has commonsense could be appointed as the Ombudsman. There are lots of willing qualified persons who could be the Ombudsman.”
Prior to the commencement of the Tenth Parliament this year, former leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and Attorney-at-Law, Robert Corbin had stated that during the five-year lifespan of the Ninth Parliament, Guyana was without an Ombudsman to enforce political control over governmental bodies.
The Tenth Parliament is now in recess and yet an Ombudsman has not been appointed.
Corbin had pointed out that the Constitution, under Article 192 makes provision for the Ombudsman to investigate any action taken by any department of Government or by any other authority to which this article applies, or by the President, Ministers, officers or members of such a department or authority.
Corbin had said that the PNCR is cognizant of the necessity for an independent body like the Ombudsman to investigate complaints, even those involving the President, under the Bharrat Jagdeo regime.
According to Guyana’s Constitution, Article 191 (1); “The Ombudsman shall be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.”
The former PNCR leader had noted that any President who is open for scrutiny and is transparent would not refuse to appoint an Ombudsman.
According to City Mayor, Hamilton Green, under the Burnham regime, the Ombudsman operated without interference. Evidence of this was the Ombudsman’s investigation into complaints brought by Eusi Kwayana against two Government Ministers, Hamilton Green and David Singh.
During the investigations Green was exonerated and Singh was forced to resign.
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