I believe it would be fair to say that the nation’s interest and involvement in the debates and discussions over the last few months have reached an unprecedented height, something not experienced in Guyana during our constitutional reform process at the turn of this century. Since December 21, 2018, the populace seemed to have been captivated by the legal battles and have eagerly followed the no-confidence expedition through the court system, which ended July 12 with the CCJ consequential orders. During this time, they have been exposed to a host of interpretations, re-interpretations and misinterpretations of various constitutional provisions. In fact, some of the most outrageous interpretations emerged from some members of both, the bar and the bench. The President and his cabal, in turn, have used these deviations to hang on to political control. While the CCJ’s ultimate Orders may not have surprised the legal minds, some sections of the general populace were left bewildered as they had anticipated Orders forcing the government to call elections before September 18. Informal discussions, meanwhile, continue. Over the weekend, a common theme took shape/birth at one gathering: Mr. Ganger may have paved the road for Jagdeo’s third term presidential bid.
The reinterpretation/misinterpretation sage continues with the President and GECOM moving along with their plans in contravention of the CCJ and our constitution. GECOM has embarked on plans to have elections early next year, despite CCJ’s urging for it to be held by September 18. Meanwhile, the President has submitted a list of his choice as Chair of GECOM. The President’s submission not only contravenes the letter of the constitution and law, but also the spirit – the very essence and intent of the framers to take such unilateral control/decision away from the President. Given that the President’s list of names is constitutionally barred, unless the Opposition Leader includes one or more of them in his submission, I see no need to write about their potency in terms of established ‘fit and proper’ criteria.
However, in light of the President and his cabal’s continued defiance of the CCJ and our constitutional provisions, could Dr. Jagdeo and the PPP push for a third term? While two wrongs may never equate to what is right, the idea flows from the defiance/breach, and in the vein of David Hinds illogical logic and the President’s obstinacy and use of double negatives in the colloquial sense. In the Hinds-view, APNU+AFC administration have many faults but the populace should still vote them into government again. The President’s double negatives in a speech at Vreed-en-Hoop were meant to reflect his negative position. His “I ain’t going nowhere,” which correctly translates to the affirmative, ‘I am going somewhere’ was used in the ordinary everyday sense to convey the message that he was not going anywhere – he was not leaving office despite the carried no-confidence vote on December 21. In the context of the President and his administration’s constitutional defiance posture, some people have opined that Jagdeo and the PPP should advocate for the third term in defiance of the CCJ and our constitution by mirroring the defiant acts of Mr. Granger and his administration and putting his name back on the board.
In a nutshell, the President’s blatant constitutional breaches, and defiance of the CCJ ruling with impunity give much food for thought. While I would not support any such breach, an argument can be made that President Granger is setting the example for others to follow. Clearly, such behaviour leaves much to be desired and certainly does not bode well for Guyana. Guyanese must therefore, consider carefully those facts and prepare to actively and collectively engage local and foreign influences for the removal of the President and his APNU + AFC government as quickly as possible.
(Barrister & Solicitor)
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