President says committed to fulfilling his constitutional mandate to consult with opposition 

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Days after he was written to by Deputy Speaker Lennox Shuman, asking that he engages Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on the appointments of a Chancellor, Chief Justice and Police Commissioner, President Irfaan Ali reassured that is he committed to the constitutional process.

The President, however, did not say whether he will meet with Harmon in keeping with the constitutional requirement for meaningful consultations.

Dr. Ali said previously that he will not meet with Harmon until he acknowledges his government as legitimate. Harmon and the APNU+AFC opposition continues to maintain, following its defeat at the March 2020 elections, that the PPP/C government is “installed,” a term used to suggest the government is illegitimate.

On Friday, during a virtual press conference, Dr. Ali insisted that he is committed to abiding by the Constitution, explaining that there are now no preconditions to ensuring he engages the Opposition Leader.

“As I said I am fully committed to abiding by every aspect of the Constitution. There is no precondition to fulfilling my mandate.

“I have no hesitation in fulfilling my constitutional mandate. It will be done in full conformity with the requirements of the constitution… I assure you this,” Dr. Ali said.

He noted that there is an issue with Harmon’s stance and that of the wider coalition opposition. To this end, he said a meeting between himself and Harmon would expose his duplicity.

As the President puts it, “he [Harmon] has a moral problem.

“How does he explain talking to some government he is claiming is illegitimate. That will expose his duplicity but I am very committed to what the Constitution requires me to do,” he added.

With no meetings between the two top office holders for more than a year, the Attorney General Anil Nandlall had recommended that the President and Opposition Leader “fashion a way forward.”

The office holders for Chancellor, Chief Justice and Police Commissioner are all acting in those positions.

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.

There are also several important service commissions currently non-functional, one going as way back as 2017.

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.

Since 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.

It has not occurred with still no clear indication on how he will engage the Opposition Leader.

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