St Lucia’s governor – general notified of ‘constitutional violations’, says opposition leader – Caribbean News Now
CASTRIES, St Lucia — Leader of the Opposition, Philip J. Pierre, has written to the Governor-General of Saint Lucia, Sir Neville Emmanuel Cenac, advising him to revoke recent appointments to the Public Service Commission and the Teaching Service Commission consequent to a violation of the Constitution of Saint Lucia.
The leader of the opposition cautioned that if the appointments are not revoked within 21 days, then he would have no other choice but to approach the High Court for declarations that the appointments to the Public Service Commission and the Teaching Service, which were gazetted on June 17, 2019, are unlawful, void, unconstitutional and of no effect.
In a letter to the governor general, Pierre outlined that “Section 85(1) of the Constitution of Saint Lucia, SI 1978 No 1901, makes it mandatory for the Prime Minister to consult the Leader of the Opposition before tendering any advice to the Governor-General for the purposes of appointing members to the Public Service Commission. Likewise, section 92(1) of the Constitution also makes it mandatory for the Prime Minister to consult the Leader of the Opposition prior to tendering advice to the Governor General to appoint members to the Teaching Service Commission”.
Pierre disclosed that he received the prime minister’s letters on May 2, 2019, yet the appointments were made effective May 1, 2019.
“By letter dated April 30, 2019, the prime minister wrote me to “inform” me of his intention to recommend three persons to the Public Service Commission and three other persons to the Teaching Service Commission.
“I received a second letter from the prime minister dated April 30th, 2019. In this letter, the Prime Minister said that he writes to “inform” me that he intends to recommend the appointment of Cyrus Reynold as “Chairman of the Public Service Commission and as a member and Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission respectively, effective May 1st, 2019 until November 9, 2020.”
May 01, 2019 was a public holiday. I replied by letter dated May 03, 2019, as follows:
“I note your intention to advise the governor general to appoint Cyrus Reynold as chairman of the Public Service Commission and as a member and chairman of the Teaching Service Commission effective May 1st, 2019. Please note that your letter was received on 2nd May 2019.
“To my astonishment, issue 24 of the Saint Lucia government Gazette dated, Monday, June 17, 2019, published the names of the proposed members of the two Commissions and announced that the appointments were effective, May 1st, 2019,” Pierre said.
In the light of the above, Pierre reiterated that the governor general should revoke the appointments to the Public Service Commission and the Teaching Service Commission at the soonest and ensure the re-appointment of new members in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.
He advised appropriately, “Any appointment, transfer or act of discipline, decision and/ or other action (s) taken by the [said] Commissions would be unlawful and unconstitutional.”
A request for comment from a legal expert recommended, “The prime minister and the governor-general should be guided by law, not ill-advised assumptions and /or reactions of political undercurrents. And further, should be cautious and better guided of further legal jeopardy, given the administrations many fickleness to date.”