Mar 06, 2016 News
By Abena Rockcliffe
The Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that the National Assembly can indeed make amendments to
the National Budget. This ruling overturned a previous decision handed down by acting Chief Justice Ian Chang during the life of the Tenth Parliament.
This was a case filed by the then Attorney General, Anil Nandlall after the Opposition Parties—A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC)—had cut the National Budget taken to the House by the PPP Government in 2012.
Chang ruled in the favour of the PPP Government that the combined parliament opposition had no right to amend the Budget. Chang said that the power of the National Assembly is to either approve or disapprove.
The then Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, had challenged Chang’s ruling in 2012. He had ruled in the House that the National Assembly can decrease a Budget but cannot increase sums that were appropriated.
Friday’s ruling was handed down by acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh who presided over the proceedings along with Justices of Appeal Yonette Cummings-Edwards and B.S Roy. The court found that Chang’s approach on the matter was markedly narrow and restrictive. Further, it was noted that aspects of Chang’s ruling were found to be “troubling.”
Yesterday, Nandlall told Kaieteur News that he hadn’t seen the ruling. His only knowledge about it is based on what he would have read in the media. However, he said, “I suppose the case was not defended.”
The former AG said that while he was the one who initially filed the case, he was removed from the case as a result of the change of government which saw him being replaced by APNU’s Basil Williams.
“So it became a case between Basil Williams and Khemraj Ramjattan who defended Raphael Trotman but they
are all on the same side,” said Nandlall.
Nandlall said too that he feels as if he became caught in some sort of “strange matrix.” The politician pointed out the fact that the government offered no new arguments in the case.
However, Attorney at Law, Roysdale Forde said that Nandlall was being less than honest in presenting over the state of affairs the way he did. Forde, along with Khemraj Ramjattan, defended Trotman.
The Attorney said that the bottom line remains that the court does not see parties or party officials, it sees litigants. He noted, too, that Attorney General Basil Williams did not concede or offer any concession in anyway.
Forde said that the only new argument was a written and submitted by himself and Ramjattan on behalf of Trotman.
Further, the Attorney said that Nandlall is fully aware of the fact that in examining the appeal, the Court would have looked at all the arguments presented by him when he was Attorney General as well as those presented by Pretima Kissoon who represented the State then, and remained the State representative during the appeal case.
Forde said that Nandlall presented the position of the then government and that position was recorded and considered by the court.
Also, Forde said that the submissions were written. “So there was no hanky panky. I am disappointed that he (Nandlall) made it seem like there was.”
Attorney General, Basil Williams, told Kaieteur News that the decision is “too late” and is of no benefit to “us now because we are now in the government.”
Asked to respond to the sentiments expressed by Nandlall, Williams said, “I do not know what is it that Nandlall is trying to say. At the end of the day the PPP lost the case.”
While Williams said it is too late, Raphael Trotman told Kaieteur News that he feels vindicated.
The former speaker of the National Assembly said that when he made the decision in 2012 that the opposition is indeed allowed to cut, he was vilified. He said that the entire episode with regards to the proposed Budget cuts was unprecedented in the English speaking Caribbean. However, he did his research and communicated with other Parliaments around the world some of which had dealt with such a situation.
Trotman said that from his extensive research he found that it was indeed constitutional for the National Assembly to reduce a Budget even though it cannot add to it.
The Minister said that the ruling by the Court of Appeal shows that his ruling handed down in the National Assembly was in order and indeed harmonizes with the constitution of Guyana.
Trotman said that it is good to know that a properly constituted court which would have objectively reviewed the case, has vindicated him, “because as I said, I was vilified.”
Jan 21, 2021Kaieteur News – On a slow spin-friendly LBI track, left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie befuddled a Leon Johnson’s XI batting line which raised concerns as they head into next month’s Regional...
Jan 21, 2021
Jan 21, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Jan 20, 2021
Kaieteur News – I had many friends among the African-Guyanese race when I was a radical activist in the era of the... more
Kaieteur News – Today, I examine the criticisms that the gas-to-shore (GTS) project lacks transparency. The fact that... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]