Professor Justice Duke Pollard’s letter ‘Lowe’s conclusion on case before CCJ was spurious’(Stabroek News, March 21, 2018), which criticizes Mr Sherwood Lowe for expressing his views in a letter ‘Mendez has shifted the CCJ gaze from Article 1 to Article 9 of the Constitution’ (Stabroek News, March 19, 2018), exposes the fact that Professor Pollard is ‘singing for his supper’ – moreso when you consider that he attempts to discount the views of a Guyanese, who has not been pro-PPP, but has been consistent in his expressions since I first met him in the early 2000s.
Mr Lowe in his letter makes it clear that he disagreed with the ruling of former CJ Chang, who found in favour of Cedric Richardson, in the case where presidential term limits have been challenged. However, he has also said that given the arguments made on behalf of Richardson in the appeal before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the CCJ would be hard-pressed to reject these.
Professor Pollard, who serves as a Legal Advisor to Attorney General Basil Williams (a post he has held since May 4, 2017) sought to discount Mr Lowe’s comments. Editor, I submit that rather than respond to Mr Lowe, he could have used his time to advise his boss on his misleading comments, rather than go after someone with more credibility.
Mr Williams sought to convey the impression at the CCJ that the issue of term limits was not only signed into law, as a change to Guyana’s constitutional provisions in 2001, but was part of the agreement detailed in the Herdmanston Accord. As it relates to constitutional changes, the Accord makes it clear that: “The matters to be addressed by the Constitutional Reform Commission will be measures and arrangements for the improvement of race relations in Guyana, including the contribution which equal opportunities, legislation and concepts drawn from the Caricom Charter of Civil Society can contribute to the cause of justice, equity and progress in Guyana.” There was never any mention of term limits in the Accord. Moreover, Act No 1 of 1999 addresses the Terms of Reference for the Constitution Reform Commission Act and, again, there is no mention of term limits.
Why did Professor Pollard fail to address this, if he is intent on public declarations of what comments are “spurious” and what are not?
Multiple missteps made by AG Williams have not been addressed by Professor Pollard in his capacity as Mr Williams’ legal advisor.
Peter R Ramsaroop