The Ministry of the Presidency is fighting back against assertions that the President has rejected the ruling of acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on the case brought against the Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, by Mr. Marcel Gaskin, a private citizen.
In a statement on Saturday night, the Ministry of the Presidency said any commentary which points to the rejection of the ruling by the Chief Justice “is clearly a deliberate misinterpretation.”
“There is no indication that the Head of State ‘dismissed’ the Chief Justice’s ruling, nor that he does not observe the separation of powers between the Executive Branch of Government and the Judiciary. In fact what President Granger actually said is that he will continue to act according to the requirements of the Constitution.”
On Wednesday, in response to a question on the ruling by the Chief Justice, the President said “I will continue to act within my perception of the Constitution; that is to say, that I will not appoint somebody that I do not consider ‘fit and proper’.”
In its statement on Saturday, the President’s office said the words ‘fit and proper’ are taken directly from Article 161 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana and are an iteration of what the acting Chief Justice is reported to have said in her ruling based on her perception of that Article.
“While the President believes that the Constitution was crafted the way it was to give preference to the appointment of ‘a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge’, he has never disagreed with acting Chief Justice’s ruling in that the Constitution clearly states that ‘any other fit and proper person’ can be appointed”, the statement said.
The MOTP said the President’s comments complement and do not contradict the ruling by the Chief Justice, adding that the President also told the media that “I do not believe that anything that the Honourable Chief Justice said has diminished my regard for the word or the spirit of the Constitution. I do believe that the person must be independent, must be impartial and I am looking for that independence and that impartiality”.
A written copy of the Chief Justice’s ruling is still to be made available. The Attorneys representing the various parties in the case have all given their own interpretation of the ruling.