The People’s Progressive Party Civic is against the recent delegation of Presidential powers
to the Commissioner of Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn.
According to PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee, this act is ridiculous, unnecessary and unconstitutional.
In July of this year, President David Granger had made an order delegating certain powers to Benn, related to public lands and state lands.
The order read, “The Commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission is hereby deputed to exercise on behalf of the President the functions relating to the sanctioning of renting and granting of leases, licences, and permission of occupancy of all Public Lands (government lands under the meaning of the Lands Department Act and State Lands under the meaning of the State Lands Act), conferred on the President by the President by the Lands Department Act and the State Lands Act respectively.”
Rohee said yesterday during his weekly press conference at Freedom House, that the powers in respect of renting and granting of Leases and Permissions to occupy all public lands are vested in the President under the State Lands Act and the Lands Department Act.
The General Secretary is of the view that vesting such power in the office of the Commissioner is
unprecedented in the nation’s history. He noted that these powers have never before been given to someone outside of Cabinet.
“This is an unacceptable situation, the Commissioner under the Guyana Lands and Surveys Act has exclusive functions to review and recommend leases for approval, now he will also have decision powers. The person recommending will also be the person deciding.”
Benn was appointed Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the GLSC last April.
Rohee explained that the situation is unique, since there was no mention as to what role the Board of Directors of the GLSC will play with the transfer of power. He said, “The power has gone to an individual, and so the CEO will now, in effect, have greater powers than his Board, an unprecedented and ridiculous situation.”
The General Secretary suggested that it would have been better if the powers were transferred to the Board, which is a statutory body, to which the Commissioner would have had to present his recommendations for approval.
Rohee suspects that this transferral will result in impropriety, whereby persons will pick up the phone and
call the Commissioner to instruct him to lease lands to individuals unilaterally using his new powers.
“In the circumstances, more and more public lands will go to those favoured by the regime,” Rohee said. In his final assessment of the situation, Rohee posited that the delegation of powers to Benn will clash with the GLSC. “How these two Commissions will relate to each other legally is anybody’s guess,” he said in conclusion.
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