Norton appeals CJ’s ruling on appointments of PSC Chairman, Integrity Commission

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

Contending that acting Chief Justice Roxane George erred and misdirected herself in law in upholding President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s appointment of Patrick Findlay as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as well as his appointment of the Integrity Commission, the APNU-AFC has filed an appeal.

The action brought in the name of Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, which was filed on Monday, lists 11 grounds upon which the party is seeking to have Chief Justice Roxane George’s ruling overturned by the Guyana Court of Appeal.

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

In her ruling delivered virtually on August 23, the Chief Justice dismissed Norton’s bid to have the President’s appointments of Police Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Patrick Findlay and the Integrity Commission annulled, on the basis that the Head of State did not engage him in the constitutionally required meaningful consultation.

Both constitutional commissions were appointed on May 31.

But in finding that the President acted lawfully in appointing Findlay, and by extension the new PSC, she held there was procedural fairness and that the consultation process between President Ali and Norton was “sufficient”.

Patrick Findlay and President Dr Irfaan Ali

Even though the PSC was lawfully appointed, she, however, found that it was not properly constituted in the absence of a Chairperson for the Public Service Commission —another constitutional commission that is still to be set up and which is vital to the reconstitution of the PSC.

In the circumstances, she applied the defacto doctrine to give legality to all actions taken by the PSC, including its recent promotion of dozens of senior Police officers.

The Opposition is, however, dissatisfied with the Chief Justice’s ruling except for her finding that the PSC was not properly constituted.

In the case of the appointment of the Integrity Commission, the Chief Justice noted that the President had followed Article 232 of the Constitution in his efforts to consult with the Opposition as well as the Integrity Commission Act.

Chief Justice Roxane George

Besides Findlay as Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Mark Conway and businessmen Ernesto Choo-a-Fat and Hakeem Mohammed are the other members of the new PSC.

The Integrity Commission has Demerara Bank Corporate Secretary Chandra Gajraj as Chairperson; along with Mohamed Haniff; Dr Kim Kyte-Thomas, lawyer and former Solicitor General; Hardesh Tiwari, and Reverend Wayne Chris Bowman as members.