Minister of State Joseph Harmon yesterday announced that Cabinet has been advised by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan that there will be no recall of the promotions done by Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine.
Harmon informed a post-Cabinet press briefing that Ramjattan’s advice was based on legal guidance but he did not elaborate.
“The minister did advise Cabinet that he did advise the Commissioner of Police (Seelall Persaud) and I think he actually produced a legal opinion that said that those officers who were promoted by Mr. Ramnarine were to remain promoted, that the promotions should not be recalled,” he said.
Several weeks ago, a dispute erupted between Persaud and Ramnarine over a number of promotions made by the latter. Ramnarine made the promotions in his capacity as acting Commissioner of Police, while Persaud was on vacation for several months.
Stabroek News was told that Persaud felt that the promotions did not go through the appropriate legal process.
His objection to the process was that Ramnarine was not appointed by the President of Guyana to act in the capacity of Commissioner and, therefore, he could not make the promotions. As a result, Persaud sought to have the promotions rescinded.
Ramjattan subsequently disclosed that he had sought legal advice from Attorney General Basil Williams
Article 211 of the Con-stitution of Guyana states that “The Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Police Service Commission.”
It adds, “If the office of Commissioner of Police is vacant or if the holder thereof is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, a person may be appointed to act in that office and the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall apply to such an appointment as they apply to the appointment of a person to hold that office; and any person appointed to act in the office of Commissioner of Police shall, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (3) and (4), continue to act until a person has been appointed to that office and has assumed the functions thereof or, as the case may be, until the holder thereof resumes those functions….”
Article 232 of the constitution also says that unless it is otherwise provided or required by the context, “A reference to power to make appointments to any office shall be construed as including a reference to power to make appointments on promotion and transfer and to confirm appointments and to power to appoint a person to act in or perform the functions of that office at any time when the office is vacant or the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of absence or infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) to perform the functions of that office; and (b) a reference to the holder of an office by the term designated his office shall be construed as including a reference to any person for the time being lawfully acting in or performing the functions of that office.”
It says also that the validity of the performance made the person acting in the specified capacity cannot be questioned in court. “Where by this Constitution any person is directed, or power is conferred on any person or authority to appoint or elect a person, to perform the functions of an office if the holder thereof is unable to perform those functions, the validity of any performance of those functions by the person so directed or of any appointment or election made in exercise of that power shall not be called into question in any court on the ground that the holder of the office was not or is not unable to perform the functions of the office,” the constitution reads.