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Taking one’s grievances to the Court of this land is the right thing to do because the Court has the constitutional responsibility to adjudicate in issues where one or more parties are involved in dispute. But the decision of this Court on the matter of the eight Members of Parliament (MPs) brings into question whether judges are guided by laws, precedents and time-honoured principles or are driven by self-interest and/or political persuasion.
When good persons in this society continue to silently murmur and allow our judges and magistrates to butcher our Constitution and laws and deny citizens, it comes a time when those charged with the nation’s responsibility to dispense justice must be told we have had enough.
Many have complained to me about their dissatisfaction with some members of the judiciary. However, they have opted to remain silent out of fear that should they one day appear before the court the magistrate or judge could hide behind the law to exact vengeance.
When our society has reached the stage where citizens, with known political persuasion dissimilar to the government or perceived to be, must fear the Court will not dispense justice then the Judiciary must be mindful they could no longer be perceived as being an independent arbiter of justice but an extension or validation of the Executive’s lawlessness.
This society has seen the Director of Public Prosecutions withdraw charges against Irfaan Ali, Anil Nandlall, Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington without justifiable explanation. This is the same judiciary that has upheld the decision of the Government Members of Parliament and appointed- Speaker to deny the eight MPs the fundamental right to natural justice (to be heard), and turned around and slapped each with the hefty cost of $350,000, to be paid within three weeks.
Something is wrong with that scenario.
Members of the judiciary must no longer feel they are sacred cows when they are operating in a manner that would not only undermine the integrity of the Court but force society to believe judicial recourse is meaningless. Members of the judiciary must no longer see themselves isolated from the society and think the duplicitous decisions they hand down could not impact the order, peace and cohesion of society.
The Judicature of Guyana is not separate and apart from the reality of Guyana. It is an independent branch of Government and that is as far as the separation comes on matters relating to Guyana. As interpreters of our Constitution and Laws of Guyana the judiciary ought to be aware that the very Constitution said any law that conflicts with it shall be deemed null and void.
I strongly disagree with the Court’s ruling to deny Eight MPs their Right to be Heard. No Parliamentary Standing Order and/or Privilege Committee’s decision could supersede the constitutional right to be heard, likewise the judgment that hid behind those to deny the MPs said right. One of man’s most basic rights, in the upholding of justice, is the right to be heard. It is disturbing the learned Justice could have denied this.