President Irfaan Ali on Monday made it clear that the Opposition Leader must first recognise the legitimacy of his Presidency and the Government before there could be any consultation on the appointment of a Chancellor and Chief Justice.
Under the Constitution of Guyana, there must be consultation and agreement between the President and the Opposition Leader on the appointment of the two top Judicial posts.
At a press conference to mark the first year of his government in office, President Ali said the Opposition Leader needs to publicly recognise the Government to move the process forward.
“In the case of the Chancellor and Chief Justice, there has to be consultation directly between the President and the Leader of the Opposition. I know definitively who is the Leader of the Opposition and I know definitively who is the President of Guyana. And I am sure Harmon (Opposition Leader) definitively knows who also is the Leader of the Opposition and who is the President and so the ball is in his Court to do the right thing”, the President said.
The Constitution of Guyana does not put a recognition of office requirement in place for the consultation process for the top two judicial appointments.
But the President insists that there will be no consultation with the Leader of the Opposition until he recognises the legitimacy of the Government.
“The Leader of the Opposition has still not issued any statement recognising the legitimacy of the Government, so I don’t know who I am consulting with, I know he is the Leader of the Opposition but I am not sure he knows who he is consulting with”, Ali said.
Since taking office, the President has refused to engage with the Opposition Leader on any issue although the Constitution provides for consultation to take place between the two on several matters.
While the President has been holding out on consultations with Mr. Harmon, the Government and the Opposition consulted at the parliamentary level recently to move ahead with the appointment of the Local Government Commission.