In reaction to Mr Sherwood Lowe’s letter captioned ‘Mendez has shifterd the CCJ gaze from Article 1 to Article 9 of the Constitution’ appearing in the Stabroek News of the 20th March, 2018, I would wish to submit that in my respectful recall the learned counsel for the Respondent in Richardson v Attorney General and Trotman asseverated that, in the absence of a credible definition of the terms “democratic” and “sovereignty” in Articles 1 and 9 of the Guyana Constitution, the court was required to construe these terms. Despite this self-motivated asseveration the learned lead counsel for the Respondent understandably made no attempt to employ the generally accepted canons of statutory interpretation normally employed in Commonwealth Caribbean jurisprudence to determine the juridical implications of Articles 1 and 9.
In this connexion the learned counsel for the Respondent egregiously ignored the requirement to apply the principle exemplified in noscitur a sociis in construing “democratic” in Article 1 and attempted to rationalise the learned Chancellor’s faulty definition of “sovereignty” in Article 9 in concurring in the equally faulty determination of the learned Chief Justice in the court below. In the event the learned counsel for the Respondent, having failed to provide a credible interpretation of the terms “democratic” and “sovereignty”, was unable to establish that Act No 17 of 2000 forfeited the protection of the proviso in Article 164 (2) thereby requiring Act No 17 of 2000 to be approved by a referendum of the electorate. And herein lies the incoherent and ‘Cartesian illogicality’ of Mr Lowe’s spurious conclusion.
Professor Justice Duke E E Pollard