Today set for ruling in challenge to President’s suspension of PSC

HIGH Court Judge, Justice Gino Persaud, is expected to hand down his ruling today in the constitutional action filed by the former Police Service Commission (PSC) challenging its suspension by President, Dr Irfaan Ali, in 2021.

The PSC’s application was filed in July 2021 after President Ali, based on advice from the Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, and in accordance with Article 225 of the Constitution of Guyana, suspended the PSC Chairman and its members, pending the findings of a tribunal that was to be established.

The PSC is praying that the court grants a declaration that the purported June 16, 2021 suspension of its Chairman, Paul Slowe and commissioners, Michael Somersall, Claire Alexis Jarvis, Vesta Adams, and Clinton Conway, from performing the functions of their respective offices in the commission, were in violation of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana Articles 225(6) and 210(3), and therefore of no force or effect.

Additionally, the applicant is seeking a further declaration from the court that the Prime Minister’s recommendations to the President for the removal of the PSC Chairman and its members from their respective offices at the commission were in violation of, and ultra vires, the Constitution and, in particular, Article 225(2), being made on grounds other than inability to discharge the functions of office or misbehaviour.

In March 2021, Justice Persaud had dismissed the application made by the Attorney General, to strike out the matter.

Justice Persaud, during his ruling, had said that the PSC case should be heard and determined, on its merits since the matter is of public importance and interest.

According to the judge, hearing the PSC’s case would bring clarity on the role of the President’s executive power, and the issue of the legality of the President’s suspension of the PSC.

The judge, in his ruling, also said that from the outset, the suspended commissioners were not properly advised to institute the proceedings which were filed on July 16, 2021, in the name of the PSC given the fact that they were suspended, and they were also obviously aware that the end of their three-year term was imminent.

As such, the judge said former PSC chairman Slowe, has sufficient interest and locus standi to continue the proceedings and be substituted as the applicant in the place of the PSC.

Last year, Justice Persaud threw out an application for a stay of the proceedings which was filed by attorney Darshan Ramdhani KC, who is representing the interest of the reconstituted PSC and the AG.

The two parties had called for a stay of the substantive case pending the outcome of appeals filed against the rulings made by the Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, S.C., in cases which touched on the subject of the action before Justice Persaud.


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