Nov 26, 2012 Letters
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs has the prerogative to apply his interpretation of the Constitution and advance argument in defence of his cabinet colleague, but this prerogative must be challenged at the point when he decides he is going to insult the intelligence of the citizens.
While the President by Constitution (Chapter IX) has the responsibility to determine his Cabinet and the members’ portfolios, those who are appointed to such position must discharge their duties in a manner that guarantee the safety, well-being and confidence of the people. Government is about people and people’s development and in those whose hands our business is placed, they must be able to command and maintain the respect and support of the citizens.
Votes in the National Assembly reflect the will of the majority, and as per our Constitution, unless otherwise stated, a simple majority carries the day on the issue.
As such, any Head of Government or Head of State that is prepared to work in the interest of the people must take note of this time-honoured principle and practice and act accordingly.
Consequently, the strident position to oppose the will of the people by applying a mangled interpretation of the Constitution and laws is indicative that we are operating in an atmosphere where dictatorship reigns.
There are three branches of government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary- and each branch must be respected and allowed to do its work. And in the case of the current Minister of Home Affairs being denied the opportunity to speak in the National Assembly on matters pertaining to internal security, if anyone has objection to the decision of the National Assembly, the Court must be allowed to do its work and adjudicate on the matter.
Until such time, the people must reject the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs’ foray in seeking to impose upon us that the decision of the majority in the National Assembly is ineffective and unconstitutional. While the National Assembly cannot by Constitution determine the Cabinet the President chooses, on behalf the people, there is nothing that prevents the National Assembly from expressing its concern/dis-satisfaction with the performance of any member in the Executive.
What is before us is a National Assembly no-confidence motion in Clement Rohee discharging duties as Minister of Home Affairs. To wit the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs is advised that this very Constitution at Article 50 vests ultimate power in the hands of the people and if the Parliament -the people’s representative body- as the “supreme organ of democratic power in Guyana” has spoken, then it says that the people have spoken!
No one must be allowed, irrespective of the position held in government, to believe that s/he can cherry pick the Constitution and malign this Constitution for any self serving end.
Ultimately, the will of the people must be respected. If our parliamentarians, on both sides of the House are serious about their role and responsibility under the Constitution and to the people, they will ensure that whatever strategy they employ on this matter, at the end of the day the No-Confidence Motion must be upheld, unless otherwise determined by the Court or the people ask that they change direction.
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