Friday, January 22, 2010

The constitution continues to be flouted in respect of the presidential assent

The constitution continues to be flouted in respect of the presidential assent

Posted By Stabroek staff On January 22, 2010 @ 5:06 am In Letters | 6 Comments

Dear Editor,
In a recent interview on Plain Talk, I asked the Prime Minister in his capacity as Leader of the National Assembly whether he was concerned about bills being passed by the National Assembly and not being assented to within the period (twenty-one days) required by the constitution. This problem first surfaced in a big way in 2006. The Prime Minister estimated these to be “about six.”

I knew that was not correct and visited the Parliament Office on Tuesday January 12, requesting an update on 2009 bills not assented to. I was asked to come back later in the day. After making several attempts to contact the person her supervisor told me that the information could not be made available to me.

In any case it was public knowledge that for 2006 ten bills lapsed because of presidential inaction and from records we maintain at Ram & McRae, I was aware that for 2009 only, twenty-six of forty bills had been published in the Official Gazette. What surprised me not a little is that after my enquiries there appeared a flurry of activities involving “the printers” and I wondered whether there was any mischief afoot, even though the Gazette in which the legislation is published had already had moved on to 2010.

It was a shock, but not a surprise, therefore, to receive this past Wednesday several Extraordinary Gazettes containing legislation that dates back, in some cases, several months.

This information provides clear evidence that the constitution continues to be flouted by the President with the tacit or expressed agreement, or neglect of the National Assembly. And even if we assume that the backdated publication is constitutional and legitimate, that leaves eight bills passed in 2009 by the National Assembly which the President has not dealt with in compliance with the constitution.

The implications are more than academic. To force public servants either directly or indirectly to engage in backdating any documents, let alone the Official Gazette, is to make corruption part of their work. Second, it is dangerous for the President to break the very constitution which he took an oath to uphold. Finally, an Act comes into operation on the date of publication. Those Acts published in predated Gazettes are therefore considered to be of retroactive effect, an equally dangerous issue.

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Ram
6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "The constitution continues to be flouted in respect of the presidential assent"

#1 Comment By james mckoy On January 22, 2010 @ 6:08 am

Mr Ram:

do you think jagdeow cares about the constitution? do you think he gives a hoot about parlaiment? he is a man set in his way, that once he wants something, then we will get it regards of the law.

#2 Comment By West Point Eagle On January 22, 2010 @ 6:32 am

Who guards the constitution? In any right thinking society this cannot happen. Where are the “people”, moreso is there an army?

#3 Comment By Sampson On January 22, 2010 @ 8:01 am

…when the foundation is weak the structure will collapse… explore ways to fix it…

#4 Comment By angel & Demon On January 22, 2010 @ 8:15 am

This is the kind of manipulation of information that is dangerous. And how could the parliament office refuse to provide the required information to Chris Ram. Isn’t parliament in service of the people of Guyana or the executive? And we hear all these cries about freedom of the press and freedom of information. Where are the spinners today?

#5 Comment By Kingshark On January 22, 2010 @ 8:16 am

Jagdeo doesn’t have time for bills and this country he is more outside than inside.All the laws passed in parliament is a waste of time no one enforced it.

#6 Comment By Birdie On January 22, 2010 @ 8:22 am

Mr.Ram,Where are you living?How many times the order of which things
must and should be done, according to Guyanas’Constitution, have been flouted, so to speak.We are not guided by a Constitution;but by an INSTITUTION.

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