Enlightenment needed on dissatisfaction over bill pertaining to Local Government Commission

Dear Editor,

 

As the public debate on matters local government continues, more and more it is becoming obvious that there is the need for the local intelligentsia to occupy its rightful place and not surrender its territory to political pronouncements and politicians.

Why are our luminaries silent and not providing the populace with enlightened views on the issues of the day; or posing searching questions to those who portray themselves as the sole authorities, generally, and on our law and systems of government, in particular.

There have been many recent pronouncements, followed by deafening silence, which have caused me to pose that question.

On this occasion, there is one particular pronouncement, on which I would appreciate our legal luminaries and scholars in political science to comment. I am referring to the pronouncement of the Attorney-General in Kaieteur News of Thursday, May15, 2014, that there is dissatisfaction with, and consequentially non-assent to, to the Local Government (Amendment ) Bill, by President Ramotar because it gives “executive power to a non-executive body”; and “The Commission by its very nature is not an executive agency but it is a Constitutional autonomous body like the other Constitutional Commissions and cannot be charged with executive responsibilities”

From my layman, and knowledge seeking, perspective, my questions are:

1. If the apparatus of the State, under the concept of Separation of Powers, is embodied in three sets of organs: the legislative, the executive and the judicial, where does the Local Government Commission, constitutional or otherwise, belong in the scheme of Government?

Is the Minister right to deem it to be non-executive, simply because it is constitutionally autonomous? By that analogy would he be right to deem the Public Service Appellate Tribunal non-judicial simply because it is a constitutionally autonomous body?

2. What was the intention of the Constitution when in Article 99(1) it states that “The executive authority of Guyana shall be vested in the President….” but immediately goes on to state in Article 99(2) that “Nothing in the article shall prevent Parliament from conferring functions on other persons or authorities other than the President.”?

I beg of our luminaries and scholars, some enlightenment on the aforementioned questions, less I naively conclude that the Attorney-General has misled the President by virtue of his advice on this matter; and the President has overruled the wisdom of the National Assembly on spurious grounds, not to mention that the Bill, in question, was unanimously passed by the National Assembly, inclusive of the vote of he who now argues that the Bill is unconstitutional.

Yours faithfully,
Vincent Alexander

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