The new American Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, seems to have rolled up her proverbial sleeves to continue the job of maintaining the solid relations between the United States of America and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
She displayed a firm grasp of political events in Guyana, the marked separation of legislature and judiciary which she expressed as support for the decisions made by Guyana’s judiciary. In her remarks after she presented Letters of Accreditation to President David Granger, the Ambassador said:
“We have seen a strengthening of the democratic process and political institutions (in Guyana) along with broader political participation and citizen representation. Moving forward, we will continue to encourage genuinely free and fair elections, freedom of speech and assembly, multi-party representation and a constitutional judiciary process.”
Since then, more than a few cynical comments have been trolling social media. Many detractors suggested that her remarks were expressing support for the Coalition Government and their (detractors’) erroneous opinion that the government is attempting to snub the Constitution and delay national elections.
After some in-depth Internet surfing on the subject, we found some impressive academic dissertations, one on “Constitutional Judiciary in a New Democracy: the Hungarian Constitutional Court” by Laszlo Solyom, and another titled, “The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy” by John Agresto.
These studies were done in former authoritarian states which have since been democratized. Like Guyana, the Judiciary in those countries is separate from the Executive, and they function as independent, constitutional branches of the State.
RULE OF LAW
In his capacity of Prime Minister, Hon. Moses Nagamootoo delivered a feature address in which he made a distinction between “Rule by law” in which a Government places itself above the law, and the “Rule of Law” which implies that everyone in society, including the Government, is bound by the law. PM Nagamootoo had stated:
“It is on the latter that we (APNU+AFC) have rested the structure of government, recognising that constitutional limits on the exercise of governmental authority, which is a key feature of any democracy, require adherence to the rule of law. Indeed, the quality of governance is defined by observance of the rule of law. Good governance depends on it.”
As such, the Government maintains that there must always be clear limits to the power given to the Executive. Our Constitution empowers the judiciary, which makes it a constitutional body. Its independence is the strongest guarantee for the protection of citizens’ rights. An independent judiciary is the bedrock of stability in our nation, and the guarantor of the rule of law.
This is the exact reason why our judges are now confident that they will remain immune from any improper, inappropriate or unwarranted influence, not from the Government or the opposition. That is a huge step, a change that the Coalition made in 2015, and we pledge to stand by it no matter what the circumstances are!
Guyana’s judiciary enjoys freedom from censure even when the Government expresses opposing views or disagreement with any ruling. The Guyana judiciary also enjoys institutional and financial independence, and we are justly proud that we achieved this.
This spotlight on our independent judiciary is to stress the Coalition Government’s position that come-what-may, we will abide by the rulings and/or take whatever lawful recourse remains.
Another scholarly work we found was by renowned jurist Dr. Francis Alexis, author of “Changing Caribbean Constitutions”. He explained that a clear majority is one half of all MPs Plus One. In an odd-number scenario like Guyana’s where one-half is equal to a fraction, the sensible thing to do is round up to the next higher number, then add one. When applied to our 65-member House, it could ultimately reveal that the 33-member vote did not meet the constitutional threshold of a majority of all elected members of the National Assembly.
The coalition maintains that our Judiciary must be able to work without pressure from the Executive or the parliamentary opposition. The Judiciary must protect the Constitution of Guyana, and interpret its provisions and intentions within the context of democratic principles … without fear or favour.
These principles include the conduct of credible, transparent, free and fair national elections. GECOM is itself constitutionally free to do its work without fear or favour, to hold local or general elections when it is ready to do so, and to deliver results that could not be successfully questioned.
ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY OUR PROSPECTS FOR THE GOOD LIFE
It seems as if the Opposition plans to destabilize the country and again deny you, the citizens, a better life with the wealth from your natural resources. Let’s forget for a moment their apparent desperation to return to power and control over those resources. Now consider what could become of the wealth that is almost here in your hands if the PPP succeeds in bringing shame and disgrace upon this country … yet again.
Only recently Guyana was applauded around the world for successfully turning around a pariah state that was known for its reputed ties to the drug world. Our country was winning awards again, and our Caribbean brethren are coming back to work in Guyana, to buy our manufactured products, to open their own businesses, and they no longer have that eye-bulging fear of being robbed and killed by Guyanese criminals.
The Opposition PPP is willing to throw all of those gains away. They don’t mind risking the departure of the oil giants. That is very possible if they continue to provoke social unrest and chaos.
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