Article 161(2) on appointment of GECOM Chairman demands a collaborative approach

Dear Editor,

In light of the GECOM imbroglio, I took the opportunity to briefly analyse Article 161(2) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Act. Parliamentary debates, and committee and  consultation reports are useful guides in understanding the intention of the drafters of any  law. They provide insight as to why provisions of the Act were framed in the manner in which they currently appear.

Unfortunately, I have no access to said transcripts or reports of the debates that accompanied the constitutional reform process in Guyana. This provides a handicap in fully deconstructing Article 161(2).

Article 161(2) can be divided into three sub-parts: (1) the first speaks to the qualities that the Chairperson must possess; (2) the second deals with the mechanism for selection; and (3) the third provides a saving clause to preclude any lacuna in the law.

I parsed the verbiage in 161(2) and have provided brief comments in parallel (the separation and highlights are mine):

Absent supplementary interpretive guides and read as a whole, I would argue that, on its face, Article 161(2) demands a collaborative approach. Given the history of Guyana, I am hard pressed to believe that the drafters did not consider the potential for abuse that this residual mechanism presented. If they did not, then Guyanese must be concerned.

Yours faithfully,

Kowlasar Misir

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