THE EDITOR: I take issue with the do-nothing or "vacuum of authority" thesis argued by attorney Anand Ramlogan in his legal opinion (Newsday Jan 4) wherein he suggested that President Robinson erred in law by exercising the discretionary powers conferred on him by Section 76(1)(b) to legitimise his Xmas Eve appointment of a Prime Minister in an 18-18 deadlock.
By now the learned attorney should have read Professor Bogdanor's opinion (Newsday Jan 4) which leads me to conclude that if the gist of Mr Ramlogan's legal opinion or thesis were to be taken to its logical conclusion it will have resulted in an unintended, nonsensical constitutional absurdity.
In fact in deference to the opinions (with thanks to Newsday) I have read them over carefully several times and have come to the studied conclusion that Mr Ramlogan's line of reasoning has not only been overtaken but also contradicted by Professor Bogdanor's. I can now appreciate, that while for us laymen/laywomen there are always two sides to any question, within the legal fraternity there are as many sides and opinions as there are lawyers. Will the former seek sanctuary in the fact that Professor Bogdanor is an Oxford Professor of Government and may not be a Constitutional advocate?. Attorney Ramlogan devoted an inordinate amount of his opinion (one third) misrepresenting the legal import/status of Point 1 of the Accord. Although I myself had queried the validity of including Item A-1 (Newsday Dec 28, p 21) I have come around to accepting that the parties were merely re-affirming and re-iterating the President's pre-existing or ab initio constitutional prerogative to appoint a PM. They were not in fact attempting to re-write, amend or rape the 1976 Constitution as attorney Ramlogan, linguist Solomon et al would erroneously have us believe. The learned attorney may be attributing motives to Messrs Manning and Panday which they genuinely never intended.
I assume that the leaders procedurally included item (A) -1 to establish a nexus with item (A)- 2 relating to the recommended prior appointment of a Speaker as well as to provide the framework for the subsequent frequent and very pivotal public undertakings provided by each leader, and of which the President would have taken judicious notice, to support with his 17 other MP's in Parliament, whoever of the two was appointed by the President as Prime Minister acting on the basis of his discretionary powers conferred in 76(1)(b). Attorney Ramlogan has chosen not to factor into his opinion this fundamentally critical, overriding and operating consideration.
In fact, if learned attorney Ramlogan wanted to contribute to the clearing of the legal mine-field, he should have taken on board in his legal opinion, in an objective analysis, given his UNC links, relevant public and private evidence, if any of substantive and procedural import which His Excellency may have factored into his legitimate and deliberate judgemental process that led him to conclude that the Leader whom he eventually appointed on Xmas eve as PM was more likely (potentially) of the two to command the support of the majority of members of the House.
For Mr Ramlogan et al to adduce that His Excellency constricted his decision making process exclusively and subjectively to the invocation of moral and spiritual considerations when these merely provided, in His Excellency's own words, the peripheral frame of reference (against that background"), is to do injustice to the position of neutrality expected of The Presidency as well as to be guilty of legal dishonesty.
Attorney Ramlogan obfuscates the fact that His Excellency merely endorsed and implemented the written and unwritten parliamentary modus vivendi agreed to by the Leaders and supported by the respective 17 other MP's as evidenced in the respective lists of signatures requested by the President.
With an eye on brevity I will not dwell on attorney Ramlogan's artificial misconstruction of the concepts of election and selection. However I have a keen interest in determining who conveyed what to Professor Bogdanor which led him to conclude that The President is an enemy of Mr Panday?
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