Guyana is a South American country and is the only country in the continent having English as the official language. Guyana gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and became a republic on February 23, 1970, when it also promulgated its constitution. The Constitution of Guyana is the republic’s supreme law and spells out the powers and branches of the government. Over the years, the Constitution has been amended on several occasions.
The President Of Guyana
According to the Constitution of Guyana, the President of Guyana is the head of government, the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the Republic’s armed forces. The Presidency is an elective post where an elected president serves a maximum of two consecutive 5-year terms. In the early post-independence years, the president was elected by the National Assembly and mainly wielded ceremonial powers. However, a 1980 constitutional referendum gave the president executive powers. The President is deputized by the Prime Minister. In the executive, the President’s role is to supervise various ministries and the respective ministers who head them. The President is not required to be a member of parliament but is granted the privilege of addressing the Parliament either directly or designates a member of his choosing to read his or her address.
The National Assembly Of Guyana
The National Assembly is the arm of government mandated to create laws. The National Assembly of the Republic of Guyana is comprised of 65 seats with the ruling party being allocated 33 seats while the official opposition takes the remaining 32 seats. The Speaker is the leader of the National Assembly and is responsible for the oversight of the administration in the House. The Speaker is elected by the members of the National Assembly immediately after the general elections. The Prime Minister is the Executive’s official representative in the National Assembly and is responsible for looking into government interests in the National Assembly. Unlike the President, the Prime Minister is required to be a member of the National Assembly. The Constitution gives the President authority to dissolve the national assembly. However, the Constitution does not give the national assembly any authority to replace the president except a case of gross constitutional violations or mental incapacity. The national assembly also hosts two Chief Whips; one from the ruling party and the other from the opposition.
The Judiciary Of Guyana
The Judiciary’s primary role is the administration of justice and has the Court of Appeal is the highest judicial body. The Court of Appeal is headed by the chancellor of the judiciary who is appointed by the President. The next body in the Judiciary is the High Court which is led by the Chief Justice who is also appointed by the President. The Constitution grants the Judiciary impartiality and independence from all other arms of government.
Administrative Units Of Guyana
The country is divided into ten administrative units of geographical constituencies. Each of these constituencies is headed by a chairman of a regional democratic council. These administrative units are further divided into smaller sub-units known as village and city councils.