Guyana can expect a fair decision

first_imgDear Editor,I was fortunate to have observed the CCJ proceedings on the case State of Guyana vs Cedric Richardson, popularly known as the “Third Term Case”. Fascinating stuff, and I am so proud to have had the opportunity to listen to the wisdom of the learned judges. I found them to be razor sharp with their questions, so much so that I felt sorry for the Head of the Guyana Bar on several occasions, Mr Basil Williams, SC, Esq.My bigger concern, however, after looking at those proceedings, is to remind those in the executive how very wrong they are when they think that this Burnham Constitution vests them with absolute power; it does not. The Guyana Constitution vests in the Judiciary the power to adjudicate upon the constitutional validity of all of the laws, without exception. If a law made by Parliament violates the provisions and spirit of the Constitution, the CCJ does have the power to declare such a law ultra vires, and not even a President of Guyana can overturn such a decision; only the people by way of a referendum can do so. And we all know who cannot face the people in 2018 in a plebiscite, because their popularity ratings is around 38%.Judicial review of the process of implementing of the Constitution is a powerful check of any attempt at absolute power. It is now clear to me that the CCJ does have the power to pull the brakes on the legislative eagerness of the Parliament, especially when they failed to change the Constitution by following due process. But I do not want to pre-suppose anything, but await the verdict.Collectively, the honorable judges have taken a very principled position, which is that it is their job to protect the basic features of the Constitution, and thus their commitment to the Theory of Basic Structure. Under no circumstance can Parliament alter the basic structure or framework of the Constitution if this act can be seen to damage, emasculate, or destroy that framework.I am so grateful that Guyana has the CCJ as its highest court, so that our affairs can be adjudicated upon without any political pressure or posturing from the Executive. And there is no shortage of that in 2018, as we observed the determined attempt by President Granger to get rid of Chancellor (ag) Cummings and Chief Justice (ag) George. From what I have seen from these honorable judges at the CCJ, Guyana can expect a fair decision.The days of the political decisions passed down by the likes of Justice Crane and Bollers in service to their political master are over.Sincerely,Sasenarine Singhlast_img

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