While the PNC didn’t intend to (because their default position is to keep us natives in the dark!), they’ve certainly forced us Guyanese to not just brush up on our constitution, but to actually engage in the kind of exegetical exercises the old scholastics used to revel in back in the Middle Ages. It was not for nothing that the period was also dubbed the “Dark Ages”!! Their defining exercise, of course, was to figure out how many angels could dance on the head of a pin!! Real relevant!!
But while the PNC have raised matters just as arcane, unfortunately, the answer by the CCJ today to one threshold issue posed by their lawyers – trawled from across the Caribbean Sea – is literally going to be a matter of life and death for our Republic. The PNC have insisted that Article 177 (4) – which states that “the Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any questions on the validity of an election of a President…and any decision of that Court shall be final” – be strictly applied.
As the lawyers say, this clause in Art 177 is an “ouster clause” – which the PNC insist, conclusively bars the CCJ – our highest appellate court – to question our Court of Appeal in their latest decision. It doesn’t matter how stupid or ridiculous the decision is – that’s it!! Story done! Imagine giving finality to the decisions of a Court that ruled not too long ago in the same ongoing elections saga for the PNC that 33 was not the majority of 65!! Now let’s pick sense from nonsense, does this make sense?? Now your Eyewitness will not insult you, Dear Readers, by regurgitating once again, the “scholastics” arguments made in front of the CCJ last week, but will offer a common-sense perspective.
To wit that the framers of the Constitution must’ve had some reason to include the ouster clause in 177(4). But he contends, whatever that reason, by definition they couldn’t have intended to violate the centrality of the rule of law immanent in our constitution. And certainly not intended in its application in this particular instance, to suppress the expression of the foundational principle embedded in the Basic Structure of our constitution in Art 9 that “Sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives…”
The effect given to an ouster clause must take cognisance to the threat it poses to the rule of law and our immutable foundational principles.
In this instance, the threat goes so deep it would be a travesty of a greater order than the “majority” farce, for the CCJ not to assume jurisdiction.
Order the recount numbers be used!!
…of PNC’s recalcitrance
One of the rationales offered for the intransigent behaviour of the PNC is that they’re fighting to prevent the exclusion of African Guyanese, who’ve traditionally been their base – from any new government of Guyana. Of note, this position has never been declared by the PNC, but mainly by some of the remnants of the WPA. To put a fine point to it, they’re saying that it’s OK for the PNC to rig the elections because not to do so would result in excluding African Guyanese from the executive!!
But have these fellas really listened to themselves?? If we go by this logic, why have elections at all?? Let’s just have a census every five years and allocate the Ministries in proportion to the ethnic breakdown in the population!! It would certainly save a whole lotta money – but would it address our political demands?? Let’s not even mention how the ethnic representatives would be chosen.
But that’s not what the PNC want, is it?
Power is the aphrodisiac they crave!!
…of Guyanese common sense
While there’s been a wild-eyed Angel Gabriel foaming at the mouth that if the CCJ assumes jurisdiction, all hell’s gonna break loose in Guyana, ordinary Guyanese are more worried about the upsurge in COVID-19 cases.