Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chief Justice rules Court has jurisdiction to hear case.

Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang has ruled that the court has jurisdiction to consider the constitutional motion brought against opposition leaders by Attorney General Anil Nandlall regarding the composition of the Committee of Selection in Guyana’s 65-seat legislature. Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang The preliminary ruling was made on Monday when the matter continued in the High Court against the Opposition Leader and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Chairman David Granger and Speaker and Alliance For Change (AFC) leader Raphael Trotman. But the chief justice gave the attorneys representing Trotman and Granger the choice to respond via affidavit or argue the merits of the case without affidavit. The team representing Granger has deferred their decision until Wednesday. Attorney Basil Williams said that he needs to consult with Senior Counsel Rex McKay, who is leading the team representing Granger. Williams said given the decision taken by the chief justice, his team will have to decide the best way forward. “We are going to discuss it as a team and we are going to make a determination as to whether we wish to file an affidavit or not. You know we have been contending on the face of the document filed by the learned attorney general, it discloses no constitutional breach and we believe that’s sufficient to found lack of jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, Attorney Khemraj Ramjattan, who represented Trotman as the AFC’s representative of its list of candidates, said that he will not be responding in affidavit and maintained that the motion does not establish a constitutional breach. Roysdale Forde, another lawyer for Trotman in his position as Speaker of the House, said he too will not be responding via affidavit. “We are convinced that the Attorney General Anil Nandlall application filed by the attorney general is completely misconceived and we are convinced that the court ultimately will make such a ruling and would demonstrate to the nation,” Forde noted. According to Forde, “… all of our submissions are still jurisdictional, so I don’t think that the chief justice’s initial ruling one of merit still stands.” Monday’s hearing continued with Attorney General Nandlall presenting authorities from across the Commonwealth that showed the attorney general in the interest of the people is responsible for defending the Constitution.
Nandlall said the argument that this is a case of the state against the state collapses as the Constitution is being violated. The attorney general has a right to intervene in constitutional matters, then it stands to reason that the attorney general can bring litigation against those who are violating the Constitution.
Nandlall contends that if Parliament continues along its current path then, like the Titanic, it will hit an iceberg. “The Constitution is being violated by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the leader of the opposition in a manner that is not taking into account 26,000 votes of people cast in the last election.” The attorney general is imbued with the responsibility to approach the court to complain, Nandlall contends.

No comments:

Post a Comment