Constitution must uphold rights of citizens


…not bent to serve political treachery and dishonesty

Dear Editor
AT least it was clear to all that their Lordships of the Caribbean Court of Justice(CCJ), at the end of their May sitting on the matters from Guyana that had been appealed, did ask that counsel from both sides– the coalition and the PPP/C– should effect meeting for a consensual approach, which would assist the court in its final determinations, as far as the consequential orders were concerned.

From all appearances, if one were to be guided by senior Counsel Stanley Marcus, representing GECOM, it can be concluded that the other side to the dispute seems not to have found it proper to engage for what the CCJ had suggested. From counsel Marcus’s account, he even wrote, but did not even receive the courtesy of a response.

Editor, watching the demeanour of senior counsel Mendes, very cocky in his summations to their Lordships, one could perhaps extrapolate as to reasons for what had all the appearances of a non-cooperative position – a foregone conclusion that the court was ready to give the orders, without due regard to other extenuating factors, that would definitely lure the Court into the dangerous and explosive realm of a political minefield, on which it certainly does not want to tread.

It was obvious that the opposition believed that it would have gotten all it had been clamouring for and expected in the circumstances on a CCJ platter – to Jagdeo’s PPP/C with love. Of course, given the PPP/C’s insatiable lust for power, for the very same reasons that they would have plundered and shamelessly pillaged the country’s resources, it has once again exposed the PPP/C’s bullying mentality of always expecting to get what they want, even if it means exacerbating social tensions, leading to the destruction of our country.
There is no question as to the fact that the CCJ has apparently woken up to the realization that it is between a rock and a hard place, meaning that it is caught between the dictates of the constitution and a practical and delicate political situation in Guyana, for which its rules did not envisage, or cater. The point is, it’s not the wish of the CCJ to be making decisions of a political nature for Guyana, which is a dictate that is clearly the sovereign right of the duly elected government of the jurisdiction.

In fact, recognizing this unintended trap, its decision to request that the two sides meet for a consensual position removes it from what would have been the now familiar description of judicial overreach.

No doubt, too, that the Court has been very much concerned about its obligation to uphold the Rule of Law, in light of what the Constitution dictates with the holding of general elections within a stipulated time frame. The President of the Court, Justice Saunders, was careful to emphasise the fact that elections ought to have been held already, again, given the constitutional diktat. He even further reiterated that an election body should always be in a state of readiness for such a constitutional exercise. I disagree, especially when one considers that Justice Saunders may have been concluding such against the background of the ideal Westminster system. As everyone is aware, Guyana’s situation is quite different, given our historical experiences of disputed elections, inclusive of the ethnic factor and the mechanisms since laid down to ensure credible elections which is pivoted around a credible voters’ list which undergoes renewal cycle at a stipulated time period, of house-to-house registration, resulting in not only a sanitized list for the purpose of ensuring voter confidence, but also for such to translate into national elections which results must be undisputed.

The reality is that a treacherously contrived No-Confidence Motion(NCM) was never envisaged, much less one that would have resulted in being properly carried against the duly elected government, thanks to the biggest political Judas in the history of Guyana’s politics. From any political direction viewed, the situation of an NCM collided with the absolute necessity of a prelude to free and fair elections, which is the sine qua non of every democratic state – a clean voters’ list.

Though it is agreed that a country’s constitution is the guiding light as to how a nation must conduct its affairs, which should be in conformity with its commands, it is concomitant that we also understand that it cannot be made to accommodate untoward and unintended situations, for which it does not cater or uphold. This, without any apologies, is asking the nation’s most sacred document to accommodate circumstances which, of course, brings it into dispute with the ideal of its intention to be honest and just, in serving the needs of the nation and people. How can it still be adherence to the Rule of Law, for a constitution’s particular diktat to ignore a quantum necessity that is pivotal to electoral transparency being upheld?

Furthermore, how is it still possible to insist that the constitutional determination must hold sway in its rule, which, if carried out, creates a grave injustice which renders it to be challenged in a court of law. Editor, I stand corrected by saying that it was the very question, I am sure, counsel for GECOM had raised before their Lordships on the question of house-to-house registration.

Simply put, no constitution should be expected to accommodate a situation which will bring it into disrepute with the purpose that it is intended to serve – fairness and justice. Neither, should its laws bend to suit circumstance, bred in the pit of dishonesty and political crookery, for which it was also not intended to serve or uphold. Though it is agreed that the constitution must be respected, it must not, under any situation, deprive citizens of its democratic right to prepare for the most important exercise of a credible and transparent national elections, which must be assured via house-to-house registration – a compulsory which has always been the Holy Grail of the PPP/C electoral politics, but which it is now prepared to ignore, deny, and discard on the altar of political dishonesty.

Earl Hamilton