Harmon defends right to hold political offices despite possible breach of constitution
Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary, Joseph Harmon on Friday defended his right to serve in two capacities despite claims by former Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon that the situation is a breach of the constitution.
According to Dr Luncheon, the position of Cabinet Secretary must be filled by a public office holder and not a minister or a politician.
But Harmon told media operatives that it seems as though the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP/Civic) is developing a habit of making an issue out of everything.
“It seems like Dr Luncheon woke up like Vanwinkle after two years to realise that? But Dr Luncheon is a medical doctor, he is not a constitutional judge and therefore I don’t appoint myself and I am sure that government has taken note of what needs to be done in this country and therefore we will not be stymied by what Dr luncheon and the entire PPP tries to do now, with every single item, every single day, they are trying to raise up something,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
In a letter to the media several days ago, Dr Luncheon posited that the Constitution of Guyana expressly provides for the Secretary to the Cabinet to be appointed by the President, who shall be responsible in accordance with such instructions as given him/ or her by the President.
Section (1) 117 of the Constitution of Guyana states that: “There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet whose office shall be a public office.”
“He is the Secretary to the Cabinet, while at the same time holding office as a Minister of State, a member of Cabinet and a Member of Parliament,” Dr Luncheon labeled as wrong.
Dr Luncheon said the Defense Act, Chapter 15 of the Laws of Guyana, also makes provision for the Secretary to the Defense Board to be a public officer.
In 2016 when the Minister was questioned on the issue, he contended that there is nothing in the constitution that prevents a politician or a minister from being the Cabinet Secretary.