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|Had Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Anil Nandlall S.C, not filed notice of application requesting delay of the case challenging the legality of Mr. Clifford Hicken’s acting appointment as Commissioner of Police, the case could have started today, 8th July.|
Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Roysdale Forde S.C, on behalf of Mr. Christopher Jones, Member of Parliament, on 8th June 2022 filed a Fixed Date Application with the court seeking to set aside the acting appointment because the President’s decision was made in violation of the Constitution.
Article 211 (1) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana states that ‘‘the Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President acting after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairperson of the Police Service Commission, after the Chairperson has consulted with the other member of the Commission’’
President Irfaan Ali did not have consultation, including the constitutionally mandated “meaningful consultation” with Leader of the Opposition Aubrey Norton before appointing Hicken.
This newspaper, making inquiry about the case, was advised by Forde the Attorney General was served on the 8th June, 2022 but is claiming that he was served 18 days after the 8th June, 2022.
The Attorney General filed a notice of application requesting five (5) days from the 8th July, 2022, which was the date for the hearing of the case, to file his response to Jones’ Affidavit
Even as the case is before the court the President recently sought to have a meeting with the Opposition Leader on the appointment. The Opposition, in responding to the request, outlined a number of questions they require answered before considering engagement. These are: –
“1. Is the President seeking to exercise his Constitutional duty on two separate occasions to appoint Mr. Clifton Hicken ‘… to act in the office of Commissioner of Police of the Guyana Police Force’?
2. What is the basis of and the Constitutional provisions which conferred on the President the Constitutional duty that you referred to that he exercised which resulted in the said decision ‘to appoint Mr. Clifton Hicken to act in the office of Commissioner of Police with effect from the 30th day of March 2022?’
3. If indeed, there is no error in your letter with respect to the declaration that the President did in fact consider ‘it his Constitutional duty to appoint Mr. Clifton Hicken to act in the office of Commissioner of Police, with effect from the 30th day of March 2022,’ can you please indicate the basis and authority for the President to exercise his Constitutional duty again?”
The response to the President also stated clearly that attention to the aforesaid is deemed “necessary and prerequisite” for “engaging in any process of meaningful consultation with regards to the appointment of a person to act in the office of Commissioner of Police of the Guyana Police Force.”