GUYANA | Court places appointment of Police Commissioner on hold pending hearing on constitutionality of appointments.

GUYANA | Court places appointment of Police Commissioner on hold pending hearing on constitutionality  of appointments.

GEORGETOWN Guyana – July 15, 2022 - Chief Justice of  Guyana’s  Supreme Court, Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, today placed a halt to any meaningful consultation between President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, as regards the appointment of a Commissioner of police.

  The judicial order placed a stay on any process of meaningful consultation under Article 211 (1) of the Constitution pending a court hearing and determination of the application brought by the Leader of the Opposition Aubrey Norton.

The Court is being asked to rule on whether the process of meaningful consultation can be initiated to lead to the appointment of an active Commissioner of Police in the context of a unilateral appointment of Patrick Findlay by the President to the office of Chairman of the Police Service Commission in breach of any meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Aubrey Norton. 

The court has set the 8th of August to begin hearings into the arguments. Attorney-at-law, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde who is representing the Opposition Leader, has lauded the Court’s decision noting that it signals a recognition for the constitutional importance of the matter brought before it.

“It is the right decision to hold consultations between the two leaders in abeyance until the court determines the constitutionality of the appointment of Pastor Patrick Findlay as Chairman of the Police Service Commission; whether the Police Service Commission was properly constituted; whether the Integrity Commission was properly constituted; and whether they were properly appointed,” Forde argues.

Opposition MP and Attorney-at-Law, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde has lauded the Court’s decision noting that it signals a recognition of the constitutional importance of the matter brought before it.Opposition MP and Attorney-at-Law, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde has lauded the Court’s decision noting that it signals a recognition of the constitutional importance of the matter brought before it.One of the Orders sought in the application was “That pending the hearing and determination of this Application, there be an Order staying any process of meaningful consultation under Article 211 (1) of the Constitution on the subject of the appointment of a Commissioner of Police of Guyana between the President and the Leader of the Opposition, (purportedly initiated by a Letter dated the 29th day of June, 2022, which requires the Leader of the Opposition to respond in writing by the [19]th day of July, 2022), until the hearing and determination of this Application.”

After hearing submissions from Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde M.P., and Attorney General, Nandlall, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, ORDERED that the Status quo as of July 6, 2022 remains.

Hence, there is no need for a response by the Leader of the Opposition to the July 7, 2022 letter from the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, in respect to the purported acting appointment of Clifton Hicken by July 19, 2022 until the hearing and determination of this matter by the Court.

Article 210 of the Constitution of Guyana provides that the Chairman of the Police Service Commission is to be appointed after meaningful consultation between the President and the Leader of the Opposition.

Article 210 of the Constitution also provides: The Police Service Commission shall consist of – (a) a Chairman appointed by the President acting after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition from among members appointed under subparagraph (c)”

Article 232 of the Constitution provides  that: “Consultation or meaningful consultation means: (a)  identify the persons or entities to be consulted and specify to them in writing the subject of the consultation and an intended date for the decision on the subject of consultation;

(b)   ensure that each person or entity to be consulted is afforded a reasonable opportunity to express a considered opinion on the subject of the consultation.”

Section 3 (4) of the Integrity Commission Act Cap. 26:01 provides that the Chairman and Members of the Integrity Commission Act are to be appointed after consultation between the President and the Leader of the Opposition.

Section 3 (4) of the Integrity Commission Act provides: “The Chairman and other Members shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Minority Leader.”

Attorney General Anil Nandlall Attorney General Anil Nandlall AG Nandlall who first opposed the application subsequently made undertaking that Leader of the Opposition Norton can hold his hand until the disposition of the application.

Mr. Aubrey Norton was represented by Roysdale Forde, S.C. and Selwyn Pieters; Attorney General Mohabir Anil Nandlall,S.C. represented himself; while Solicitor General Nigel Hawke was represented by  Debra Kumar and Chevy Devonish and Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Patrick Findlay was represented by Darsham Ramdhanie.

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