Constitution empowers president to discipline permanent secretaries
- Luncheon
Stabroek News
March 15, 2002

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The appointment and the disciplining of public officers at the level of permanent secretaries rest solely within the purview of the president as governed by the Constitution.

This response was forthcoming from Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, at yesterday's post cabinet media briefing when he was questioned by a journalist on the decision to impose a surcharge on Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ganga Persaud.

According to Luncheon, the issue had been dealt with in accordance with provisions under the Constitution, which state that the authority resides with the President exclusively to act with regard to such officials.

Further, according to the cabinet secretary, the said officers are aware of the Office of the President's position as regards their tenure, and this, he noted, was highlighted in the contracts entered into when they ascended to office.

According to article 205(1): "The power to make appointments to the office to which this article applies and to remove from office persons holding or acting in such offices shall vest in the President."

Article 205(3) states: "The office to which this article applies are the offices of Solicitor General, Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet, Ambassador, High Commissioner or other principal representative of Guyana in any other country or accredited to any international organisation.

And while article 201(1) states: "Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the power to make appointments to public offices and to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices shall vest in the Public Service Commission," article 201(7) adds: "The provisions of this article shall not apply in relation to any of the following offices, that is to say, any office to which article 205 applies.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Executive Member of the GAP/WPA, Eusi Kwayana had stated that cabinet had acted illegally in surcharging Persaud in relation to the law books affair.

According to Kwayana, the imposition of a surcharge on a public servant by unknown authorities raised serious questions of legality as this power is well defined in the law under the Financial Administration and Audit Act 73:01.

Further he had challenged the cabinet secretary to cite the authority under which the decision was forthcoming.

Kwayana had further challenged the government through the cabinet secretary to prove him wrong in interpreting that the whole investigation was a sham and a cover-up.