…that is the CCJ’s task
Your Eyewitness should get extra pay for battle duty. Well, he wasn’t actually engaged in the battle, but he might as well have been. He now understands the challenge of those reporters who’re dispatched to be embedded in units thrown into combat. He’s talking, of course, about having to look at the entire all-day hearing on the Opposition parties’ appeal to the CCJ on the PNC’s illegal grab for power.
This was war all right – of the old-fashioned kind, when armies would line up in formation against each other, then chaaaaarge!! Or like gladiators in Roman Coliseums duelling in front of the nobility. All the while observing rules about how exactly to destroy the fella in front of you, but destroying him anyway. Kinda like how warfare is conducted inside boxing rings, with an umpire to ensure the rules of engagement are observed.
The lines were drawn, the troops were massed in their uniforms, and the umpires rang the bell to start the fray; to pause it so as to allow the wounded to be carried off the field and regroup, and finally to announce that next Wednesday at 3 pm they’ll announce who won the battle.
The weapons were the mouths of the lawyers – many of them foreign mercenaries – and their bullets were their words…and these certainly flew fast and furious. First up was the Trini Mendes, who’s become something of a fixture in the legal arena of recent. He quite endeared himself to the local spectators who witnessed the last gladiatorial contest when he brought a courtly charm to the fight by addressing the Chief Justice as “Milady”. You just expected him to throw his coat over a puddle for her to step over!!
Anyhow, Mendes threw the PPP partisans for a loop when he agreed that, technically, on an explication of Art 177 (4) – as argued by the PNC – the CCJ didn’t have jurisdiction to listen to the case on appeal from the Court of Appeal (CoA). But in an unusual manoeuvre, he then slyly pointed out that the CoA, in fact, never decided the case that was brought to them by Miss David on the grounds laid out by the exclusionary Art 177 (4). So, the CCJ had wrongly arrogated jurisdiction – and this could be challenged at the CCJ!!
The CCJ could rectify matters by throwing, out by reinstating, the status quo ante!! His hapless opponent, another Trini, John Jeremie, weakly blustered that the CoA did in fact have jurisdiction even though he couldn’t find a single precedent in the entire Commonwealth to back up his (hypothetical) contention!!
That a presidential election could be challenged before the President was declared!!
…what might it be
It became pretty clear early in the duel that the CCJ’s gonna assume jurisdiction. Maybe because the PNC had taken them for fools the last time they came before them?? You remember when the eminent jurists took the PNC at face value, told them what the law was on the NCM – and the PNC kicked them in the nuts by hanging on for another year? And counting!!!
So how’ll they take jurisdiction? Well, one of the lawyers for a small party referred to Marbury v Madison, didn’t he?? That’s the foundational 1803 US Supreme Ct case where they CREATED the power of “judicial review”. Once the constitution’s ever violated, they could then strike down any statute, law or governmental actions emanating from the violation. The CCJ’s questions posing hypotheticals that would have the working of the present laws result in great hardships to Guyanese suggest they’ll invoke “natural law” to justify this.
Then, of course, they could always invoke Constitutional violation of its “basic structure”!!
…the PNC don’t care
But it wasn’t smooth sailing after Justice Marshall introduced Judicial Review. There was the famous case of Andrew Jackson asking how many troops the Supreme Court had to enforce their decision?
That’ll be Granger’s reaction.