Clifton Hicken was appointed as the acting commissioner of Police by President Dr Irfaan Ali two days ago. However, his appointment did not come off well with the opposition party, the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R).
The PNC in a statement described the appointment as unconstitutional on the basis that no consultations were done with the Opposition Leader and the Police Service Commission. They had indicated that they intend to challenge Hicken’s appointment.
However, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall during his television programme “Issues in the News” stated that President Ali did not err in the appointment of Hicken.
The Head-of-State is required by the constitution to consult with the Opposition Leader and the Chairperson of the Police Service Commission before he can appoint a Commissioner of Police, but there is no Opposition Leader or a Police Service Commission in place.
According to Nandlall, it is no fault of the Government that there is no Police Service or an Opposition Leader. As such, in this scenario the ‘doctrine of necessity allows the President to appoint a Commissioner of Police without consultation since the Guyana Police Force cannot be without a Commissioner.
“So it is against that backdrop that the president is completely justified in proceeding to put someone to perform the functions of the commissioner of police.”
Further, Nandlall said the argument that the appointment ought to have gone to someone else would not stand since the President used his prerogative powers to appoint Hicken. “The choice of who is to be the Commissioner of Police is one that lies exclusively with the president, in the exercise of that choice he has to comply with a process which is consult with the leader opposition and to consult with the chairperson of the PSC… that has nothing to do with the choice, the choice remains that of the president.”
According to the Attorney General, no court of law could fault the President for his choice. “No one can substitute their own opinion or their choice for that of the president when I say no one, even a judge, the president may choose who he wishes.”
He says the threats coming from the PNC have no merit and are very ‘nonsensical’.
“The PNC is free to proceed and file the legal proceedings, we would have a very interesting day in court, it is the same that they have made the same bluff in relation to the Natural Resources Fund BILL,” Nandlall stated