While most of our attention drifted naturally towards the no confidence motion case, there was an extremely important point, which came out from the GECOM Chairman case. The Caribbean Court of Justice ruled in the GECOM Chairman case at paragraph 5 of the consequential Orders:
In this, “the GECOM Chairman case”, the Court concluded that the process that resulted in the unilateral appointment by the President of a Chairman of GECOM was flawed and in breach of the Constitution.’
While this point may have flown under the radar, this ruling by the CCJ was extremely significant because it establishes definitively that President Granger by his own deliberate action has breached the Constitution of Guyana. By this ruling, this is now a fact and no interpretation, or address to the nation, or mercenary legal opinion, or conjecture can change that fact. What is also now a fact is that this is the first time in Guyana’s history that it was ruled by the judiciary that any President of Guyana has breached our Constitution by his or her own deliberate action.
The breach of the Constitution by President Granger is, of course, very serious indeed for several reasons. First, the Constitution specifically prescribes that the President can be removed from office as President for the violation of the Constitution. It would not be credible for President Granger to argue that he was unaware that his action would be in breach of the Constitution because in addition to the clear language of the Article, it was a practice for over 20 years that no President has ever interpreted Article 161 of the Constitution to mean that he or she can reject the list of nominees submitted by the Leader of the Opposition for the post of GECOM Chairman and make a unilateral appointment. In addition, it would not be credible for President Granger to argue that he was unaware that his action would be in breach of the Constitution because several civil society bodies and lawyers spoke publicly on the issue both prior to as well as post the unilateral appointment. The observance of that delicately designed process where the President appointed a Chairman of GECOM from a list of 6 nominees submitted by the Leader of the Opposition, commonly known as “the Carter formula”, provided an orderly and satisfactory outcome to a critically important issue in our society and its breach was unnecessarily disruptive.
Second, the breach of Constitution by President Granger is very serious because the Constitution is, in and of itself, the most important document for all Guyanese. This is the document which gives all Guyanese their rights, protections, and freedoms which includes, among other things, the right to life and liberty, the right to a free education and health care, the right to own private property and the protection against its deprivation without due process, and the freedom of expression and religious belief. These rights, freedoms, and protections are fundamental to how we, as Guyanese, live our lives and it is the Constitution, which guarantees such. Incidentally, it is the very same Constitution, which frames the institutional order of our country and gives President Granger himself the powers and immunities, which he enjoys as President. Therefore, President Granger simply cannot cherry pick the parts of the Constitution, which are beneficial to him and his purposes and disregard the other parts, which are not.
Finally, the breach of the Constitution by President Granger also sends the message to international investors and the international community that Guyana is not a country which respects and upholds the rule of law and that, in turn, increases our risk profile for investment and international loans.
Now that the highest Court has ruled that President Granger has breached the Constitution of Guyana by his own deliberate action, it confirms what most Guyanese already knew which is that David Granger as President has not been a good leader for Guyana and his position as president and potential re-election is quite frankly untenable. We must have an election immediately to elect a new President.
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