Statement by Hon. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


 Statement by Hon. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources


As a party to the Attorney General vs Cedric Richardson case in my former capacity as Speaker of the National Assembly, I am pleased that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s highest Court of Appeal, has vindicated the arguments that both attorneys for myself and the Attorney General have made from the inception. Further, I wish to place on record my appreciation for the work done by Mr. Roysdale Forde who appeared on my behalf in the High Court and Court of Appeal and commend the legal team, led by Attorney General, Basil Williams, SC, that represented the State.

The inclusion of a presidential term limit in the Constitution of Guyana was done properly, fairly and unanimously, and does not in any way diminish, or interfere with, the free will of the people. Presidential term limits are common in democracies throughout the world and serve to strengthen democratic states. This is the modern direction that Guyana agreed to go in 2001.

I respect and applaud the autonomy of the CCJ and its eminent jurists and the ruling which, though split, was overwhelming (6-1) in favour of what is right and just.

This has been a long and unnecessary ordeal which this nation was put through to satisfy the ego of one man. All the framers of the 2002 constitution reforms, regardless of which political party or civil society organisation they represented at that time, have won a precious victory today. All of the nation’s leaders need to recapture the spirit of the 2001 constitution reform process and work to achieve a more cohesive, peaceful and productive nation.

This nation must learn from this episode and reject authoritarian leadership in all its forms and never allow the advances made to be rolled back by the obsession with power of a single individual.