THE RECENT COURT DECISION CAN ALLOW GRANGER TO RUN FOR A THIRD TERM
It seems as if every other person that is blogging these days is a legal expert. Persons who never picked up a law book in their entire life are suddenly taking the bloggers’ highroad and proclaiming that the Court has erred in its recent decision.
We have many legal experts in Guyana. Once a decision of the Court is not to someone’s liking, they find a way of criticizing it without any legal basis.
The recent decision by the Chief Justice deeming term limits in Guyana as unconstitutional is one such case in point. A great many persons are not pleased with the decision.
They are not concerned with its merits. They simply do not like the fact that the decision will open the door for a third term of Bharrat Jagdeo. It is the implication rather than the decision itself that is causing distress, particularly amongst the supporters of APNU/AFC.
It should not. Who says that Jagdeo is going to get a third term? The same decision must be seen as also allowing the possibility that Granger may now be eligible for a third term. It is doubtful that the APNU/AFC partnership will lose the next elections in five years.
It is almost certain that no matter what happens over the next five years, the coalition government will be reelected. It is virtually assured of two terms.
Now with this ruling, a third term for the incumbent President is possible. One has to consider the possibility of this implication.
The initial reaction of many critics of the PPP was to see this decision as solely benefitting Jagdeo. It also shows the fear that Jagdeo drives in the heart of the opposition forces.
They knew they had a chance with Ramotar and they did defeat him. But they are not certain whether they can beat Jagdeo, and this uncertainty is responsible for much of the criticism that is now being leveled against the decision of the court. Persons in the opposition camp are worried. But they should not be.
The PPP cannot win in 2020. The fact of the matter is that the PPP today is no different from the PPP of 2011.
The rebranding of the PPP is really an attempt to demonstrate who controls the party, and that fact has been known for some time. The rebranding, therefore, is really a mirage. There is no rebranding. The PPP is a lost cause. It does not realize how much it is behaving like the PNC.
It was the PNC, which, after the 1997 election, described the PPPC government as a de facto government. The PNC claimed that it was cheated. But the Court did not vitiate the elections on the basis of any cheating. The election was vitiated because the Voter ID card that all parties agreed to was deemed unconstitutional.
People are concerned with the implications of a legal ruling rather than the merit or the legal reasoning behind the decision. This reaction is a symptom of the divisions within the society; divisions that run deep and which were clearly obvious in the legislative elections in 1947. It was clear in those elections that society was heavily polarized.
This is something that exists today and this polarization is seen in the way people react to certain political and legal developments.
These reactions do not help Guyana; they condemn Guyana, because they are not based on any objective evaluation of the situation. They are mainly based on taking sides, and Guyanese have been taking sides for a long time, and probably will be taking sides well into the distant future.
The decision of the Court in the recent term limit case can be appealed. There has been talk about it being appealed to the Caribbean Court of Justice. But those who are making this decision need to be reminded that the first recourse is to the Court of Appeal.
The decision has to first pass through the Court of Appeal before it can go to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Court of Appeal may well determine this matter within a short possible time given its importance to other laws. What if the Court of Appeal strikes the ruling down?
Will those who are complaining about local jurisprudence still want the matter to go to the Caribbean Court of Justice? Or will they settle for a Court of Appeal ruling that overturns Justice Chang’s decision.