Chief Justice throws out Opposition’s challenge to Hicken’s appointment as Top Cop
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, SC, on Thursday threw out the Fixed Date Application (FDA) filed by the Opposition’s Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, which among other things, was seeking to quash President Irfaan Ali’s appointment of Clifton Hicken as the Police Commissioner (ag).
In handing down her ruling, the Chief Justice found that the President did not breach the Constitution when he appointed Hicken as acting Police Commissioner. In fact, Justice George found that the FDA by Jones was “vexatious” and an “abuse” of the court.
In May, Jones, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition Chief Whip, 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 contends 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.
Aubrey Norton took up the post of Opposition Leader on April 13. On May 31, President Ali appointed the members of the PSC.
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.