Court grants leave for Granger’s appeal to be heard

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Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang
Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang

[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Monday (February 17) announced that leave has been granted for Opposition Leader David Granger’s appeal in the Budget Cuts Case to be heard.

According to the party, on January 22, Granger’s Attorney and recently elected Deputy Speaker Basil Williams filed an application for leave to the Court of Appeal over the dismissal of Granger by Chief Justice Ian Chang in the Budget Cut Case.

“Today, Monday 17th February 2014, the matter came before Justice James Bovell-Drakes and Justice Rishi Persaud, after a short hearing leave was granted for an appeal to the Appellate Court” a release from the APNU stated.

On January 13 it was Justices James Bovell-Drakes and Rishi Persaud who had ruled that the Full Court to which Williams had first appealed had no jurisdiction in the matter, leading him to then appeal to the Appellate Court.

However, on January 29 the Chief Justice, who paused the case while the appeal was being heard in the Full Court, handed down his final ruling which stated in essence that the Opposition has no power to cut budgetary estimates.

Chang in his ruling stated that the National Assembly can only approve or disapprove the entire budget or sections therein and has deemed the cutting of the National 2012 Budget as unlawful.

According to Chang, the power to approve or disapprove the estimates simply means that it is conferred with a ‘gate keeping’ function by the constitution and does not imply or involve a power to amend the estimates presented by the Executive Minister.

Attorney-at-Law and Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan has since noted his intention to appeal the Chief Justice’s decision.

The Opposition MP believes there are errors in the ruling and maintains that the Opposition has the right under the law to amend budgetary estimates.

The Guyana Government had taken the Opposition to court following the slashing of the 2012 National Budget by $20.9 billion.

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