By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Arguments in the Court case brought against the government by the Opposition; seeking to stop “unauthorized” spending by the incumbent continued on Friday, January 09 in the High Court before Chief Justice Ian Chang.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall in responding to the application filed by the main opposition – A Partnership for National unity (APNU) – submitted that the Court has no power to stop government spending by granting a Conservatory Order which the Opposition has asked for.
In an application filed on the December 12, 2014 the APNU said it was seeking to stop unauthorized spending by the Government and spending on programmes that were disapproved by the Parliament.
But Nandlall explained on Friday that “the wide amplitude of remedies and powers which a Court would normally have in an action in which a citizen alleges the breach of his fundamental rights, that repertoire of remedies are not available in this type of proceeding.”
He told reporters that his arguments concentrated on the procedural deficiencies which afflict the proceedings that have been filed. He submitted that a Conservatory Order cannot and should not be granted in proceedings commenced in the way this did.
“A Conservatory Order is a special type of order that the constitution allows to be granted only when there is an allegation that there is a violation of the fundamental right of the citizenry and in this action there is no allegation that anyone’s fundamental right has been contravened,” Nandlall added.
The Attorney General further submitted that Dr. Ashni Singh in his capacity as Minister of Finance was misnamed as a party in the proceedings; explaining that the State Liability Act clearly states that all proceedings against the State should be brought against the Attorney General.
The case continues next Wednesday where the AG is scheduled to address the institutional aspects, in terms of the statement of excesses and whether the Minister acted lawfully and constitutionally.
Lawyer for the APNU, Basil Williams reminded that APNU’s contention is that despite the disapproval made by the parliamentary opposition to government’s proposed spending, the Minister of Finance still spent some $4.5 billion on the same programmes that were not approved.
This act the APNU has said, amounts to a breach of the doctrine of the separation of powers as it abridged the decisions of the Parliament and its independence.
Williams says the Opposition’s fear is that the Administration has continued spending and may have exhausted the total $37 billion which was disapproved.
The Opposition is also fearful that with elections looming and in the absence of parliamentary scrutiny the government may abuse its spending power.