…and Basil Williams
Basil Williams was made the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Guyana in 2015, once the PNC-led coalition slipped into office. And SLIP in it did…by less than 5000 votes!! While he certainly wasn’t in any way, shape or form noted for any legal prowess, he HAD stuck with the PNC through the years.
Most would remember his (in)famous conversation with Winston Felix, then Commissioner of Police (and now PNC Minister of Citizenship), wherein they conspired to head off the PPP Minister of Home Affairs, Gail Teixeira, from the trail of those who’d committed the Agricola massacre. The secretly recorded tape revealed real intimate knowledge of the workings of the Buxton gang, right Bannuh?
So while he was no legal bright bulb, not much was made about his appointment to what was a POLITICAL office. But when, two years later, Granger went and made him SENIOR COUNSEL, it raised a whole lotta eyebrows. After all, by this time he’d lost so many high-profile cases he was openly criticised for being just a punching bag for his predecessor, Anil Nandlall! The legal fraternity protested that the “SC”, signifier of legal excellence, was being debased like mixing gold with copper!!
And even after Granger arranged for an advisory panel of legal “old heads” to steer him in the right direction, he continued with his losing ways. Folks wondered whether the award was intended to boost his sagging ego. But the fella keeps sticking his foot into his mouth, and your Eyewitness wonders whether he’ll be able to overcome his latest faux pas that’s so ridiculous it makes one wonder if Williams is in possession of all his marbles!!
Referring to Art 106 (7) of the Constitution, which declares that the Government “shall hold an election within three months” after the passage of a No Confidence motion, Williams announced that the constitutional provision was “erroneous”, since “The Government does not conduct elections.”!!! GECOM does!! Never mind that “holding” elections is explained in Art (61) as setting the “times for elections”, after the dissolution of Parliament, which “the President shall appoint by proclamation”!! So the PNC-coalition Government didn’t do a single thing since 2015, since everything was done by delegated agencies!??!
But even more amazing is this: Williams doesn’t understand that a Constitution, the highest law in the land, CANNOT be “erroneous”. Whatever it states IS THE LAW. Williams may disagree with a particular stipulation, but until it’s changed by amendment, procedures that are contained in the Constitution, it remains the law!!
Finally the man had the temerity to claim Burnham didn’t know what he was doing. “The framers of the Constitution got it wrong!”
Some folks also see the Constitution as “wrong”, but not in Basil Williams’s risible manner. They feel our Constitution doesn’t deal with the “real” problems of Guyana – the “ethnic divisions”. Your Eyewitness, not so respectfully, disagrees. What these folks don’t understand is that the present Constitution already has provisions where it’s unlawful to discriminate against anyone. It enshrines equal opportunity!
But the real problem is that some folks don’t want “equality of opportunity”, they want “equality of results”!! And they gloss over that, between “equality of opportunity” and “equality of results”, there’s the need for “equality of abilities” and “equality of effort”. Which just ain’t possible!! On the first fly in the ointment, abilities aren’t distributed equally. Everyone in Guyana, for instance, has an equality of entrance to the same schools – but they don’t all have the same abilities, do they? And so we have different results.
Then even though there might statistically be individuals with the same abilities within every group, they don’t all put in the same effort! Hence different results.
But everyone wants quick fixes!!
In addition to being the fundamental principles meant to govern our society, “constitution” also means “composition” of something – how it’s “constituted”.
And we’ll never know peace until all Guyanese are “constituted” by the same narrative.