Guyana Politics: Jagdeo cannot be Prime Minister either – prominent attorney explains

Jagdeo cannot be Prime Minister either – prominent attorney explains

Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo

This became pellucid yesterday after prominent Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev J. Datadin explained that the Constitution bars anyone who is ineligible of being President from being Prime Minister as well.

In an invited comment, Datadin said, “Article 101 subparagraph 1 of the Constitution is clear, very clear, that a person who is not eligible to be President is similarly not eligible to be Prime Minister. I think it would be difficult for an alternative interpretation of that article to be successful. In fact, there can be no alternative interpretation by anyone.”    

Datadin opined that the provisions of Article 101, 1 make good sense. He said, “I find this especially so, because someone who is Prime Minister would be required to act for the President on many occasions—if the President is ill, if he leaves the country, the Prime Minister will automatically be the person to act as President.

More importantly, God forbid something is to happen to the elected President, by operation of law, the Prime Minister would become the President.”

Datadin continued, “Now, if that person who is ineligible of being President is Prime Minister, it creates a circus of permutation as to what should and should not happen, a situation that is likely to create a Constitutional crisis and create uncertainty in the country. So, by my reading of Article 101, 1 of the Guyana Constitution, any person who is ineligible of being President cannot be Prime Minister.”

Yesterday saw the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) upholding the Constitutional limit on terms for Heads of State in Guyana. After the ruling hit the online press, heated discussions erupted on social media on the domino effect of the ruling. Jagdeo is the only former President who is alive and has served two terms before. Hence, the discussion focused on him.

Former President, Donald Ramotar

Giving consideration to Jagdeo’s announcement over the weekend and again yesterday, that he will return to play a formal part of any People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, many on social media said that Jagdeo could return as Prime Minister.
Also, sources within the PPP/C said that this was a “consideration” of Jagdeo’s.

Further, Kaieteur News contacted several persons within the PPP/C for comments. Most of those who answered the calls refused to comment on the record.

The only PPP/C official brave enough to go on record, speaking about the ruling and likeliness of contesting as Presidential Candidate, was former President Donald Ramotar.

Speaking on the ruling, he said, “I always thought the decision could have gone both ways. I am therefore not surprised at the decision. I think the process that we went through for us to change the Constitution was very broad and extensive, and therefore I am not surprised that the decision is what it is.”

He said, “It is not a question of if I support it or not. I accept it…I do not think it (the ruling is a bad thing.”

Ramotar only served one term as President. His term was less than the usual five years as he was forced to call elections after he prorogued Parliament to prevent the passing of a No Confidence Motion against him.

This newspaper asked Ramotar if he was willing to serve as President again, he said, “That is not for me to decide, I have always been a party man, a PPP man.”

He said that if the Party decides that it wants him to run again, “I will have to take it into very serious consideration.”

Attorney at Law, Sanjeev Datadin

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  • Emanuel  On 06/28/2018 at 12:50 am

    Time for Jag to ride off into the sunset. He has had his day and now nightfall has descended on his ambitions.

  • Emanuel  On 06/28/2018 at 12:50 am

    Time for Jag to ride off into the sunset. He has had his day and now nightfall has descended on his ambitions.

  • Discuss  On 07/01/2018 at 12:20 pm

    Attorney Datadin a question to you:- Did the ruling ever address “acting President” or did it only seek to address the substantitive position. Can’t it be argued that the substantive differs from acting and consequently, one can have it clearly defined that if the interpretation is that the ruling did address this aspect, then it is a simple solution, the Prime Minister never acts as President in the case of Bharat Jagdeo specifically. A simple tweeking of the constitution is all it takes. Bharat Jagdeo should there not be ruled out as Prime Minister.
    This is all turning out to be that a multitude of individuals in government and around Jagdeo
    does not have the academic, intellectual capacity to counter Jagdeo and they are invoking all manner of mechanisms to wish him away, rather than be principled like Ramotar and explain that it was the PPP’s position to to limit the term limit which was done under Jagdeo’s tenure. He wasn’t pressured to do it. He infact articulated that very position.

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