…Full Court says it has no jurisdiction
Leader of the Opposition, Brig. David Granger, will remain excluded from the ongoing budget cut case before Chief Justice Ian Chang, as Full Court Judges Justice James Bovell-Drakes and Justice Rishi Persuad ruled, yesterday, that they have no jurisdiction to hear the appeal matter.
The two judges added in their less than five-minute ruling that the case forwarded by Attorney for the Opposition Leader, Basil Williams, was “ill-conceived” as the order by Justice Change to dismiss Granger and Finance Minister Ashni Singh from the budget cut case was a final order that determined the issue between the parties.
As such the Judges ruled that they have no jurisdiction to hear the matter since the Full Court deals specifically with interlocutory or interim matters.
Following yesterday’s ruling, Williams expressed to reporters that he would be appealing the exclusion of the Opposition Leader and would be taking the matter to the Court of Appeal and if need be, the Caribbean Court of Justice. Williams had argued that the ruling of the CJ which dismissed Granger from the budget cut case was an interlocutory one.
He had pointed out also that the ruling could not be final since it did not put a conclusion to the 2012 budget cut case before the CJ. He had laid over some 12 authorities in a written submission to the court supporting his argument that Granger was at the right level of the judiciary; claiming his right to be part of the 2012 budget cut case.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall had stated in his arguments that the CJ’s ruling was final since as members of Parliament, they have immunity and cannot be a part of the ongoing 2012 budget cut case. He had forwarded that the Full Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter involving the CJ’s final ruling because an end was brought to all matters involving the Finance Minister and the Opposition Leader.
Nandlall said yesterday that he is pleased with the case’s outcome since the ruling confirms with his earlier arguments.
The Full Court, at the initial stage of the matter, was supposed to rule on whether they have jurisdiction to proceed with the case, but had reserved that ruling to the end of the court hearing. Kaieteur News was told yesterday that this was done to give a fair hearing to both sides so that all bases could be covered.
Williams had appealed the ruling of the CJ since he claimed that the Opposition Leader was not given a fair hearing before being dismissed by the CJ in the 2012 budget cut case. The CJ had dismissed both the Opposition Leader and the Finance Minister since as parliamentarians they are protected by immunity. The Speaker of the National Assembly, although he too has immunity, remains a defendant in the budget cut case since he is accused of opening the door for the Opposition to cut the budget.
The Attorney General was however quoted by state media as saying that “any Appeal filed ought not to prevent the Chief Justice from delivering his final ruling.” He opined that the budget cut matter should re-convene and concluded in the speediest manner.
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