Commissioners on the Linden Commission of Enquiry did not address ministerial responsibility

Dear Editor,

The purpose of this letter is to comment on the Linden Commission of Enquiry as it relates to the established doctrine of ministerial responsibility.  In a previous letter published in the Stabroek News, I expressed the hope that the Commissioners, collectively or individually, would make a finding on the responsibility of the Minister of Home Affairs having due regard to the jurisprudence on ministerial responsibility which has been developed within the Commonwealth family of nations.

Disappointingly, this aspect was not addressed, notwithstanding the fact the Minister gave oral testimony concerning the assignment of members of the Guyana Police Force.  I assume (for lack of any contrary explanation), that the Commissioners confined themselves to the application to the situation of the Public Order Act, 1955, (then the Public Order Ordinance) enacted in 1955 after the suspension of the British Guiana Constitution, which surprisingly, is still applicable, despite the legal and constitutional changes Guyana has undergone since the time of its enactment.

In conclusion, it must be conceded that within recent times, newly admitted members of the Commonwealth family of nations from the ranks of smaller developing countries have not subscribed unreservedly to the traditional Commonwealth doctrine of ministerial responsibility.

Yours faithfully,
BTI Pollard, SC

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