Opposition’s Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, has moved to the Court of Appeal to contest the Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George’s ruling, upholding President Irfaan Ali’s appointment of Clifton Hicken to act as Commissioner of Police.
Last week, Justice George, SC, ruled that the President did not breach the Constitution when he appointed Hicken as acting Police Commissioner.
Given that there was no Opposition Leader at the time of Hicken’s appointment, the Chief Justice said the President was entitled to his deliberate judgment under Article 111. In fact, she labelled Jones’ challenge as “vexatious” and an “abuse” of the court.
Dissatisfied with the “whole ruling,” the Opposition’s Chief Whip has moved to the Court of Appeal, claiming that the Chief Justice erred in law when she held that the President was vested with the authority to make an acting appointment to the office of Commissioner of Police under Article 111 of the Constitution.
Through Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde, SC, Jones advanced that Justice George erred when she found that the President could have acted out of necessity and exercised his deliberate judgment under Article 111 of the Constitution.
Citing a plethora of errors the Chief Justice made, the Opposition member took issue with the Judge’s ruling that there was no material difference between an appointment to act and perform the functions of the office of Commissioner of Police.
In May, Jones, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Member of Parliament, moved to the High Court seeking several declarations, and among them is that the doctrine of necessity used to appoint Hicken is unreasonable, beyond the power of the Constitution, and is illegal, null, void, and of no legal effect.
He contended that the appointment violates Article 211(1) and (2) of the Constitution as they were not even consultations with the Opposition Leader.
Article 211(1) of the Constitution states the power to make appointments to any offices in the Police Force above the rank of Inspector or to remove such persons from office vest in the Police Service Commission (PSC).
However, at the time of Hicken’s appointment on March 30, there was no Leader of the Opposition following Joseph Harmon’s resignation on January 26.
But Justice George said President Ali could not be faulted for there not being an Opposition Leader. In light of this, the Chief Justice refused the orders and declarations sought by Jones.