Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017

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Committees
(Aired 22 May 2007)

   The PPP is very willing to lie to the public concerning the fact that the parliamentary standing committees are working in the interest of all and there was consultation at every level in the appointments of the nominees to the judicial service Commission, the Public Service Commission and other commissions.

   These commissions make fundamental decisions regarding the lives of all of us regardless of political preference. Any judge who is stealing or is rendering perverse decisions for money or for political favour is a threat to the rule of law in this country and it is happening with increasing frequency in Guyana.

   Recently nominees of two of the commissions, the Judicial Service Commission and the Public Service Commission were approved by Parliament.

    The PNC opposition were very vocal in their condemnation of the persons who were finally chosen to be members of the judicial and public service commissions notwithstanding that they were appointed by a committee of which they are members.

   Here is why.

   Let's deal with the Judicial Service Commission first now the parliamentary committee which made the recommendation for the appointment to the Judicial Service Commission is called the Committee of Appointments, the members of the committee are as follows Minister Ramsammy, Minister Robert Persaud, Mr. Brindley Benn, Minister Manickchand, Minister Jennifer Webster and Ms Gail Teixeria who was chosen to be its chairperson.

   The PNC's nominees are Ms. Deborah Backer, Dr. George Norton, Amania Ally, and from the AFC Sheila Holder.    

  The minutes of the Committee since the 21st December 2006 to the present time show that the committee met eight times since this 9th Parliament started.

   The committee decided that they would ask the following three organisations to put up proposals for the two vacant positions as required by the constitution from organisations that represent lawyers in this country and they chose the following associations to do so the Guyana Bar Association, The Guyana Association of women lawyers and the Guyana association of legal practitioners which was formally the Berbice Bar Association.

   The Berbice Bar association were required to put up two names but they only put up one Justice Prem Persaud some members of the committee noted that there was some irregularity with this nomination since no one could determine when the meeting which decided this nominee was held now remember that Debbie Backer a member of this committee is a practicing Lawyer so she would have been in receipt of any information of shenanigans in this nomination and apparently there were some..   

   The Guyana Bar Association, the really big body that represents lawyers in this country nominated Mr. Brin Pollard and Dr. Harold Lutchman.

  The Guyana Association of women Lawyers failed to nominate anyone, but the Bar Association alleged that they had made their submission after consulting with the Association of women lawyers and requests by the parliamentary committee to have the association of women lawyers to confirm that this was true got no response. So apparently they did give their vote to the Bar Association of which some, if not all of them, are members.

   The parliamentary committee therefore had three names Dr. Lutchman, Justice Prem Persaud and Mr. Bryn Pollard.

   The committee decided that they wanted gender, ethnic, geographical and religious balance, so they asked the associations to submit more names the only organisation that did was the bar Association and they supplied the following names Ms. Sandra Veronica Bart and Justice Aubrey Bishop, after some consideration the committee agreed to nominate Bryn Pollard on the 17th April 2007 and on the 24th of April the committee decided to submit the name of justice Prem Persaud using the PPP's bigger numbers on the committee to do so. So notwithstanding that the Guyana Bar association by far the biggest association of lawyers in this country nominated five names, a small organisation from Berbice, probably prompted by the PPP nominated Justice Prem Persaud and the PPP used their majority in this Parliamentary committee to get what they wanted. The fact that Prem Persaud is currently before the court since his currently being the chairman of the Public Utilities commission and the judicial service commission at the same time which appears to be a clear violation of the law, seemed to be irrelevant to the PPP.

   To get what they want the PPP is prepared to violate this entire process and so the claim by the PNC that this process was violated by bad faith was well founded. 
   The position with the nominees to the public Service Commission was no different, it was a process highlighted by bad faith and deception and the process went this way;

  The members of Committee of Appointments were of course the same 6 PPP representatives three PNC representatives and the PPP/AFC representative.

Ladies and gentlemen article 200 (1) (b) says this two members appointed by the president upon nomination by the national assembly after it has consulted such bodies as appear to it to represent public officers or classes of public officers. So ladies and gentlemen we are talking about unions here, since no one represent this class of person in any formal way.

  But it was decided that the following bodies would be eligible to submit the names of persons eligible to sit on this commission the 1. Guyana Public Service Union; 2. The Public Service senior Staff association; 3. The Federation of Unions of Government Employees; 4. National Union of Public Service Employees and 5. The Guyana Labour Union.

   The Guyana Public Service union submitted the following names 1. Mr. Herman De Souza and 2. Ms. Vera Lynette Naughton. 

  The Public Service Senior Staff Association submitted 1. Mr. Celil Seeparsaud and 2. Mr. Meryn St. Hill.

    The Federation of Unions of Government Employees nominated 1. Mr. Carvil Duncan and 2. Mr. Earl Aloysius Welch

     The National Union of Public Service Employees nominated Mr. Carvil Duncan and Mr. Alyshious Welch     

   The Guyana Labour Union nominated Mr. Carvil Duncan

   I am not going to get into politics here but the PPP's first and only choice in this matter was Carvil Duncan and Cecil Seepersaud; the PNC in an effort to compromise at first nominated Ms. Vera Naughton and Mr. Cecil Seepersaud but when they saw that the PPP was not going to yield, they changed their selection to Herman De Souza and Vera Naughton the AFC member voted for Mr. Cecil Seepersaud and Ms. Vera Naughton, if the AFC member was attending all of the meetings and saw what was going on she should have stood with the other opposition parties and vote for anyone other than Seepersaud a person who was clearly being pushed by the PPP, in the end using their majority and refusing to see the sense in putting Ms. Vera Naughton a retired Senior Education Officer, the nominee put forward by the Public Service Union which is really the major union that represents public servants in this country and since Ms. Naughton is also a woman, which can give gender balance to this committee, the PPP disregarded all of this and chose Seepersaud and Carvin Duncan and used their majority to push it through all the stages in the house.

There is no justice in Guyana ladies and gentlemen none at all.