Conway has a problem with interpretation of the law

Dear Editor,

Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clinton Conway seems to have a serious problem with his interpretation of the law. So it is not surprising that he would take sides with the unconstitutional action of President David Granger who “directed that there be no consideration of promotions for members of the Guyana Police Force by the Police Service Commission, until further notice”.

Article 226 (1) of the Guyana Constitution clearly states that “In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution, a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”

The Police Service Commission is an independent body, and is one of the commissions to which this article refers. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand this. Even Chevy Devonish, a law student, knows that the President cannot dictate to a constitutional commission. In a

letter published in the Stabroek News on August 10, he wrote, “Undoubtedly, the President is a person to whom this article refers, and the Police Service Commission is a commission contemplated by this provision.

“Therefore, the President’s direction for the commission to halt promotions can only be seen as subjecting it to such direction or control which the Constitution aims to prevent… The rule of law, as a constitutional doctrine, adds weight to the principle and law that the President and

all other office holders for that matter, must exercise power in accordance with the law, resisting urges to act arbitrarily, and conveniently. The President, therefore, exercises his power subject to constitutional limitations. He is inferior to the Constitution, its subordinate even.”

Editor, we have seen similar interference and abuse of power by the executive branch of the APNU+AFC government since taking office. Carvil Duncan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission was forced out of office because he refused to compromise the independence of the Public Service Commission, and sell his integrity and independence to this government.

So, with this in mind, and with total disregard for the Constitution of Guyana, Mr Conway argues that, “The conduct of many senior and junior offers of the GPF is being questioned at the Commission of Inquiry currently conducted by Paul Slowe, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police. These officers have been highly recommended to the Police Service Commission for promotions. What if the PSC goes ahead now and promotes them and the CoI finds them guilty of misconduct? On the other hand why not wait a short while until the CoI completes it work. Certainly, if the CoI clears the officers of any misconduct they will be promoted.”

Is Mr Conway privy to inside information to determine how long the CoI will last? Could it not be that the administration may have deliberately initiated this CoI as a smokescreen to elevate certain individuals into strategic positions within the Force? Why else would they insist in having this worthless Commission of Inquiry during the worst security crisis when dangerous prisoners are still on the run?

Has Mr Conway read, and if so, did he understand what is written in Article 226 (1) of the Guyana Constitution? And if he did, why is he so willing to tarnish his credibility by publicly supporting the President who has knowingly violated the Constitution?

Yours faithfully,

Harry Gill, MP

PPP Member of the Parliamentary Oversight

Committee for the Security Sector

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