Sept. 16 for ruling on President Ali’s immunity in PSC case
High Court Judge Gino Peter Persaud will on September 16, 2021 rule on an application filed by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, asking that President Irfaan Ali be struck out as a named respondent in a constitutional action filed by the Police Service Commissions (PSC).
With written submissions on the issue already made, Justice Persaud entertained oral arguments on Monday where Nandlall maintained that the President must be struck out as a named respondent because he is immune from prosecution.
But the attorney for the PSC, Selwyn Pieters does not believe that the President was improperly added as a respondent although the President has immunity under article 182 of the Constitution.
“Imagine the President sitting down in the High Court corridor for his case to be called,” Nandlall said as he made the case that Pieters was going against several previous rulings which upheld the Presidential immunity in this regard.
The Attorney General urged Justice Persaud not to do the same as it will cause chaos and confusion for every officeholder who enjoys such immunity.
“When does the President stop being the President?
“The President’s decision can be reviewed and challenged, yes, but through the Attorney General,” Nandlall told the Court.
Pieters shared a different view. “It is the position of Police Service Commission that the President is indeed a proper and appropriate party in the proceedings and is so named in his official capacity.”
He asked the Court to dismiss the AG’s application and proceed to consider the merits of the fixed date application against all the respondents including the President.
Pieters noted that although the naming of the President is unusual it reflects the unprecedented nature of the case and the President’s action.
“He is bound by the laws and constitution; he is not above the law. He is a servant and subordinate to it,” Pieters said.
When the Judge rules on September 16 it will then pave the way for arguments to being in the substantive case.
The suspended Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Paul Slowe along with the other suspended members had filed legal proceedings in the High Court against President Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie and Nandlall.
The fixed date application, also against the Secretary of the PSC, was filed by Pieters, Dexter Todd and Dexter Smartt on behalf of the PSC.
In the application, the PSC wants a declaration that the suspension of the Chairman and members of the PSC by President Ali was contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of Guyana, in particular articles 225 (6) and 210 (3).
The PSC was suspended by President Ali on June 16, 2021.