Ms Teixeira was incorrect on how commissions of enquiry are set up

I can only speculate whether it was a momentary lapse that caused Ms. Gail Teixeira to mis-speak about the basis and mechanism of commissions of enquiry (Stabroek News, May 22, 2010: No info, no phantom probe – Teixeira). Faced with persistent questions on the phantom squad for which her government is again under scrutiny, Ms. Teixeira told the media that “the constitution clearly states how a commission is set up to inquire.” That is not correct.

How a commission of enquiry is set up and functions are provided for not in the Constitution but under the Commission of Enquiry Act Cap. 19:03 under which only the President may appoint a commission of enquiry. If Ms. Teixeira truly believes what she said, then she must be confusing commissions of enquiry with the constitutional commissions such as the Judicial Service Commission and the Rights of the Child Commission.

As a former Minister of Home Affairs and now one of the country’s hugely expensive political contract employees paid to advise on governance, Ms. Teixeira is expected to know the contents of the Constitution. It forms the basis of the country’s governance system. Her statement suggests that despite her long association with the PPP/C which in opposition criticised the Guyana Constitution as creating a dictatorship, Ms. Teixeira never understood the Constitution, and as Minister and now advisor on governance, still does not.

If Ms. Teixeira has any interest in good governance, she would be advocating the removal of those dictatorial elements in the Constitution, and supporting those calling for the abolition of the dictator-creating executive presidency. More practically, she should be ensuring that all the constitutional commissions – including the Public Procurement Commission – are appointed, provided with adequate resources and functional, and the post of Ombudsman filled.

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