The Guyana Bar Association is making it clear that the Chief Justice’s decision in the matter regarding the Guyana Elections Commission Chairman and the interpretation of the Constitutional requirements, are declaratory orders and are not interpretations or opinions.
In a statement on Saturday, the Association’s Council noted that “declaratory orders made by the Chief Justice, based on Her Honour’s application of principles of law, are not interpretations or opinions but, like all other orders of court, are pronouncements of the law made in formal proceedings on a particular legal state of affairs.”
It further stated that the refusal to abide by a declaratory order may result in an order to enforce the rights established by the declaration.
The Bar Council said it is confident that, “like in every other society which respects and safeguards the rule of law, the State will abide by the declaratory orders made by the Chief Justice.”
The Chief Justice in her decision regarding the requirements for the Elections Commission Chairman job, noted that a nominee does not have to be a Judge, Former Judge or a person qualified to be a Judge. She found that someone who is considered “fit and proper” for the job as stated in the Constitution would be just as qualified for the position.
The Chief Justice also said reasons should be given for the rejection of nominees.
President Granger in a response to the decision by the Chief Justice, stated that “The Chief Justice gave an appointment based on her perception of the law and I will continue to act with my perception of the Constitution. That is to say, I will not appoint somebody who I do not consider fit and proper”.
He had also brushed aside the recommendation to gave reasons for rejecting nominees, by stating that “If you can show me the Article of the Constitution which requires me to give a reason, I will comply but I will not do what the Constitution does not require me to do”.
The Court matter wad filed by Businessman, Marcel Gaskin, who asked the Court to make certain declaratory orders on the meaning of Article 161(2) of the Constitution, which provides for the appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission.