January 16, 1998
The supporters of the PNC are being taken for a merry-go-round-ride. After Mrs Jagan was sworn in as President, the leader of the PNC, Mr Desmond Hoyte, indicated that Mrs Jagan could not escape the law. The PNC had by then issued a challenge, in the form of a court action, to the decision. At that time the PNC seemed to have immeasurable faith in the court to dispense justice.
This faith soon evaporated after the Chief Justice's decision. The General Secretary of the PNC Aubrey Norton according to a report in the Chronicle (13.1.98) told reporters Ms. Bernard had succembed to pressure and that the PNC had lost faith in the justice system.
Then at his press conference on 13 Jan, 1998, Hoyte while admitting that he had not studied the decision of the Court still had the gall to conclude that the court had merely ruled that it did not have jurisdiction but that the decision to declare Mrs. Jagan as President was still illegal. An act can only be deemed illegal if it is contrary to the law and the PNC has been unable to prove this in court.
While the substantive decision of the court was the question of jurisdiction, Ms. Bernard did conclude that article 177(6) precluded any enquiry into the election of the President once an instrument had been executed under the hand of the Chairman of the Election Commission. I quote from the Chief Justice's ruling: "I have come to the conclusion that the `conclusive evidence' clause in Article 177 (6) of the Constitution would preclude the Court from considering evidence that the Chairman of the Election Commission had come to the wrong conclusion and had acted beyond his powers. This is the Constitution which was drafted in 1980, no doubt as I mentioned earlier, aimed at insulating and shielding the person elected to the Office of President from inquiry by the courts.
Until it is amended this is the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land and by which we must abide."
Thus, until such time as Mr Hoyte is able to overturn this decision through an appeal, Mrs Jagan is deemed to have ascended to the presidency legally and is the President of Guyana.