President, Opposition Leader must ‘fashion a way forward’ to ensure ‘constitutional compliance’ – Nandlall
With three important service commissions currently non-functional, one going as way back as 2017, appointments in a bid to reconstitute those constitutional agencies are expected within the next few days.
This is according to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, who also assured of constitutional compliance in reappointing the Commissions, a process that requires meaningful consultations between the President and Opposition Leader.
But President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have not met for the first year of his presidency, not even on the appointment of a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice because Harmon has failed to recognise the Irfaan Ali led government as legitimate.
The President has repeatedly stated that he will not meet with the Opposition Leader unless he recognises the government as democratically elected while also assuring that the constitutional procedure for a new Commission and the selection of Chairpersons would be activated.
There has been no clear indication of how the government intends to do this as a consequence of the strained relationship between Dr. Ali and Harmon.
The matters that require meaningful consultation between the two leaders are the appointment of Chairpersons to the Judicial Service Commission, the Police Service Commission and the Public Service Commission. All of these, according to Nandlall, could be appointed by the end of the month.
“The appointment process is being activated… before the end of the month the appointments will be made public,” Nandlall said earlier this week while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Guyana has also been without a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice since the amendment was made to the constitution in 2001 which included a requirement for the President and Opposition Leader to agree on the two top judicial posts.
Nandlall said with the constitution prescribing how those appointments should be done, “the President and Leader of the Opposition will have to fashion a way to discharge their constitutional obligations and duties.”
“As Attorney General, I will advise that there is obedience to the rule of law and constitutional compliance,” he noted.
Earlier in August, days after the Police Service Commission expired, Dr. Ali told the News Room that the constitutional procedure for a new Commission would be activated to ensure that a functioning PSC is in place soon.