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A few days ago, I got very good news that Article 13, a Civic Society Organization, has made public its recommendations to make effective and useful the Government’s proposal to amend the Representation of the People Act. The Attorney General may have forgotten that, on or about November 2, 2020, he appeared on Globe Span, 24/7 live, and solemnly undertook amendments of the Guyana Constitution after full consultation with the citizens.
It is timely for me to remind the members of Article 13 and the public of an important issue. Article 13 is part of Chapter 2 (Basic Principles) of the Constitution. Chapter 2 is covered by its final article which bars, or is intended to bar, the whole chapter from any approach to the courts to order implementation of any of the basic principles laid down in Chapter 2. It was introduced by a previous Government after the Court of Appeal, under Chancellor Keith Massiah, had ruled in the Teemal case that Article 11, empowering trade unions and similar organizations, “should be given some teeth”. As I understood the amendment then and now, a campaign to remove the shackles placed on the courts will need to be waged in due course.