Attorney-at-Law Selwyn Pieters who is representing the Chairman and Commissioners of the Police Service Commission, (PSC) has informed Prime Minister Mark Phillips that his request for Chairman of the PSC, Paul Slowe to show cause why a process should not be initiated for his removal is vague.
Article 225 (2) of the Constitution says the Chairman and/or Commissioners could be removed if they have engaged in misbehavior or become unable to discharge the functions of their respective offices.
According to the Attorney, none of those two grounds set out in the Constitution were violated by Mr. Slowe and other Commissioners, therefore the request by the Prime Minister is “curious.”
In the second show-cause letter sent to Mr. Slowe, the Prime Minister said he has taken note of a move by Mr. Slowe, to join opposition Members of Parliament in a separate Court matter.
That matter is an application filed by Opposition MP Ganesh Manipaul and a number of other persons against the Attorney General and the Minister of Finance.
The action seeks to have the Judicial Service Commission, and other Constitutional agencies be allowed to function independently, impartially and free of the exercise of any control by the executive or any other entity.
“The grounds provided for the proposed removal of the Chairman and Commissioners are decidedly vague, with no specific violations or concrete obligations alleged and no explanation as to why the Commission’s participation in the Mahipaul Action should be tantamount to bias or interference, or run contrary to the Commission’s independence, impartiality and autonomy. Nor is any support offered for the empty assertion that “the public perception is that the Commission and its members have abandoned all appearances of impartiality and have joined forces with the Opposition politicians to engage in an open, partisan, political contest with the Government,” Attorney Pieters submitted to the Prime Minister.
Pieters explained that the Mahipaul Action is directly tied to the administration of justice and the proper fiscal management of independent constitutional commissions, and that the Commission’s involvement does not violate the principle of separation of powers or put at risk the independence and impartiality of the Chairman and Commissioners. The Commission is entitled to challenge the government in Court.
He said the Commission felt the need to join the case because it felt its independence was being threatened, alluding to a situation where the Commission approached to Finance Ministry for funds to defend itself in a Court battle with Senior Superintendent Faizal Karimbaksh but was denied the funding.
“The Commission’s involvement in the Mahipaul Action was the consequence of the Commission’s need for, and the Government’s failure to provide, financial means for the Commission to defend itself in court against the application of Senior Superintendent of Police Fazil Karimbaksh, which in turn emerged out of disciplinary proceedings initiated against the said Senior Superintendent following allegations of sexual harassment,” Slowe told the Prime Minister through his Attorney.
The Attorney said Mr. Slowe’s previous submissions in response to May 19, 2021, Show Cause Notice laid out in detail the history of inappropriate, unconstitutional political interference by President Irfaan Ali and his government with the workings of the Commission, including President Ali repeatedly contacting Mr. Slowe to request promotion of certain individuals in the Guyana Police Force including Senior Superintendent Karimbaksh and sending intermediaries to pressure Mr. Slowe to cooperate.