Maxwell grossly misrepresented constitution

Dear Editor,

In M. Maxwell’s indecent haste to demonise the Constitution he engages in disagreement with himself and misrepresentation of the instrument. His writings, which are reflections of his thoughts, continue to be of serious contradiction. As reference is made to his letter, `The extreme powers of the president show how atrocious the constitution is’ (SN 25/12/2014), such must be compared with another letter of his entitled, `Presidential immunity’ (SN 21/3/2011).

In 2014 Maxwell takes issue with my long-held view of Article 182 `Immunities of President’, in which I’ve made known that immunity could never be intended to grant the president free rein to violate the Constitution he has sworn to uphold, when said instrument outlines how the nation’s affairs ought to be managed and its citizens treated. This deduction is arrived at through basic reasoning.

In 2011 Maxwell had this to say, “I have decided to research and interpret article 182 of the constitution. I am no lawyer but Bisessar’s suggestion that presidential immunity under article 182 is temporal appears to be the correct interpretation.”

He proceeded to list seven reasons to support his contention and concluded by saying, “The police, DPP, Attorney General and private citizens and companies can sue or launch a prosecution against the president in his private capacity after he leaves office, for private acts committed during his presidency. While some nefarious types may connivingly argue that every act committed by the president during his term is a function of his office, it is clear that this is an utterly bogus machination. The unerring truth is that there are certain acts which are purely private and which demonstrably fall outside of the office of the presidency. These are the acts for and on which the Guyanese public can sue and prosecute the president.”

When one examines his 2011 position against 2014 it shows a case of running with the hare and hunting with the wolves at the same time. These conflicting positions of condemning the constitution as being illegal and no good but yet at the same time asking the president and public officials to respect it, bring into focus whether Maxwell has an interest in an orderly society. Or he is only prepared to create confusion and chaos in order to justify his dislike for the constitution.

And in pursuit of his nefarious act he claims, “Article 50 states ‘The supreme organs of democratic power in Guyana shall be––(i) the Parliament;

(ii) the National Congress of Local Democratic Organs; (iii) the Supreme

Congress of the People (iv) the President; and (v) the Cabinet.’” Let it be known, Article 50 of the existing Constitution ‘Supreme organs of democratic power’ expressly states, “The supreme organs of democratic power in Guyana shall be- (i) the Parliament; (ii) the President; and (iii) the Cabinet.”

There is no Article 79 (2) that gives the president power to dissolve parliament at any time. The power for dissolution is enshrined in Article

70 (2). Additionally, Maxwell is utterly wrong in stating that, “Article

110 states ‘There shall be an office of Minority Leader and appointments thereto shall be made by the President.” Article 110 ‘Leader of the

Opposition’ actually states, “There shall be an office of Leader of the

Opposition, election to which office shall be in accordance with Article

184.” Neither Article 184 nor 110 vests any power in the president to appoint the Leader of the Opposition, previously known as Minority Leader.

His references to Article 82, 83, 84, 85 are non-existent since they have been repealed by Act No. 14 of 2000. Article 127 (1) that Maxwell says, “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Minority Leader” is misleading. Article 127 (1) expressly states, “The Chancellor and the Chief Justice shall each be appointed by the President, acting after obtaining the agreement of the Leader of the Opposition.”

When one includes and distorts information in official documents it must be seen as a treacherous act because it involves misleading an entire society and can have dire consequences. The public is invited to examine Maxwell’s other misleading claims to articles and contents that do not exist in the present constitution. This man has disqualified himself to be involved in honest and objective discussions on the constitution. If he desires his conversations on the constitution to be deemed credible he needs to accept to society this errant conduct.

Yours faithfully,

Lincoln Lewis

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