Government must respect the separation of powers
Stabroek News
February 7, 2002

Dear Editor,

The State owned newspaper, the Guyana Chronicle, has a story captioned, "Team to probe corruption in magistracy" set out at page 8 of the February 5, 2002 edition. The report states, "Asked whether magistrates have been found or observed being involved in corrupt practices, Luncheon said: "I have absolutely no doubt that they are involved, absolutely no doubt."

The report went on, "In this regard, he noted that the government has joined a large number of "commentators of such things" who have pronounced on corrupt practices in the justice administration".

It means that Dr Luncheon has found certain Magistrates guilty even before the probe started. And if such conclusive evidence exists why is there need for a probe?

Dr Luncheon has assigned to himself the role of investigator, judge and jury. I am not saying that he cannot do so,because he has already done so. What I am saying is that within a democratic culture a member of the executive has to observe the rule of law which is premised on the doctrine of the separation of powers whereby the executive, the judiciary, and parliament cannot interfere with the functioning of each other.

A few weeks ago President Jagdeo expressed the view that he was contemplating setting up a Parliamentary committee to oversee the judiciary. The view of political supervision of the judiciary is alien to the concept of separation of powers or the rule of law. To assume that the view of political supervision of the judiciary is based on ignorance is to presuppose that the PPP operates within the framework, the jurisprudence and the philosophical outlook of the rule of law. The PPP is not concerned about the rule of law but rather about the role of law, whereby law is used as a tool of control.

This attack on the independence of the judiciary is another step in the PPP's calculated attempt to reshape and redirect the societal arrangements from the rule of law model to the bolshevisation of Guyanese society.

We must resist with all our might. The Chief Magistrate, the Chancellor, the Chief Justice must speak out.

Yours faithfully,

V.V. Puran