Harmon should withdraw his letter to the Police Service Commission

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter from Minister of State Joseph Harmon, dated July 26, 2017, addressed to Marvalyn Stephens, Secretary, Police Service Commission, Waterloo Street, Georgetown. In that letter, he informed Ms Stephens that: “His Excellency, President David Granger, has directed that there be no consideration of promotions for members of the Guyana Police Force by the Police Service Commission, until further notice.”

He further requested Ms Stephens to, “bring His Excellency’s directive to the immediate attention of the Commission.”

This letter and its contents constitute a most egregious violation of both the letter and spirit of Article 226(1) of the Constitution, the relevant part of which reads thus:

“…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”

Further, Article 226(7) provides thus:

“in this article…the expression ‘commission’ means the Elections Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Teaching Service Commission or the Police Service Commission.”

I take this opportunity to remind Mr Harmon that in a letter dated 28th of May, 2015, another Minister of his administration, Ms Simona Broomes, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection (as she then was), purported to issue similar directions to the Secretary of the Public Service Commission, allegedly on behalf of the President. The offensive portion of that letter reads thus:

“Please be advised that all interviews and meetings of the Commission are to cease forthwith until further as instructed by His Excellency, the President, David Arthur Granger’s notice” (sic).

As a result, representing Mr Euclin Gomes, a citizen of Guyana, interested in constitutional compliance, on the 8th day of June, 2015, I launched legal proceedings against the Attorney General, (2015-HC-DEM-CIV-CM-49), in which I claimed, inter alia, the following reliefs:

(i) a declaration that the Public Service Commission, a commission established by the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, in the exercise of its functions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority;

(ii) a declaration that a letter dated the 28th of May, 2015, directed to the Secretary of the Public Service Commission, a commission established by the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, by Ms Simona Broomes, a Minister and a member of the executive, advising that “all interviews and meetings of the Commission are to cease forthwith until further (sic) as instructed by His Excellency, the President, David Arthur Granger’s notice”, is in violation of Article 226 of the Constitution of the Cooperative of Guyana, is unlawful, null, void and of no legal effect.

The matter was heard by the then Chief Justice, Mr Ian Chang, SC. On the 24th day of June, 2015, the Chief Justice granted the following Orders with the consent of the Attorney General:

“…Upon reading the Notice of Motion on the part of Euclin Gomes, the above-named Applicant filed herein on the 8th day of June, 2015, and the Affidavit of the said Applicant sworn to on the 8th day of June, 2015, and filed in support of the said Application and upon hearing Attorney-at-Law for the Applicant it is by consent ordered and declared that the Public Service Commission, a Commission established by the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, in the exercise of its functions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority and it is by consent further ordered and declared that a letter dated the 28th of May, 2015, directed to the Secretary of the Public Service Com-mission, a Commission established by the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, by Ms. Semona Broomes, A Minister and a member of the Executive, advising that ‘all interviews and meetings of the Commission are to cease forthwith until further (sic) as instructed by His Excellency, the President, David Arthur Granger’s notice’, is in violation of Article 226 of the Constitution of the Cooperative of Guyana, is unlawful, null, void and of no legal effect…”

As an attorney-at-law, I have no doubt that Minister Harmon appreciates that the Police Service Commission and the Public Service Commission form part of the same constitutional genus and therefore, the Order of Chief Justice Chang will apply with equal force to his letter to the Police Service Commission, mutatis mutandis. Indeed, I express shock that he would author such a letter in the first place.

In the circumstances, I respectfully demand that Minister Harmon withdraw, in writing, his letter  dated July 26, 2017, addressed to Marvalyn Stephens, Secre-tary, Police Service Commission, Water-loo Street, Georgetown, within two days of the date hereof. If he fails to do so, I will have no alternative but to institute legal proceedings in relation thereto.

Yours faithfully,

Mohabir A Nandlall, MP

Around the Web

Comments