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Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton, on Tuesday, maintained that the appointment of Clifton Hicken as the acting Commissioner of Police is unconstitutional.
“The appointment of Hicken remains unconstitutional and is of no legal validity. Article 211 (2) of the Constitution, which specifically mandates meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, makes that abundantly clear,” Norton said during PNCR’s weekly press conference on Tuesday.
President Irfaan Ali, on March 28, appointed Hicken to Act in the Act in the Office of the Commissioner of Police in the Guyana Police Force.The appointment took effect on March 30, 2022, two days after the former Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie proceeded on pre-retirement leave on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has argued that President Ali relied on the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ in appointing Hicken’s acting Police Commissioner but Norton rubbished the argument. “Before an unconvinced public, the PPP and its Attorney General submitted the excuse that the so-called Doctrine of Necessity has forced their hands. The Doctrine of Necessity cannot. It cannot be used to excuse a flagrant breach of the Constitution,” Norton said as he appointed to the case David Patterson v Attorney General.
The PNCR Leader said if the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government genuinely wanted to avoid, as the Attorney General puts it, a “headless” police force, then a legitimate option was and still is available – that is, the appointment of the most senior officer to perform the duties of the commissioner, pending a proper process of appointment under Article 211(2). This, he said, was the process used for former Commissioner Hoppie.
“The appointment of Hicken is another manifestation of the lawless and undemocratic approach to governance which has always characterized PPP misrule. It is also a clear manifestation of the politicization of the Guyana Police Force and confirmation that the PPP does not believe in, or practice, governance based on the Rule of Law,” Norton told the press.