…on criminal charges
After futzing around with two years of throwing shade at the PPP, after the highly publicised “audits” were conducted by one Goolsarran, the PNC-led Government charged ex-Finance Minister Ashni Singh and ex-head of NICIL, Winston Brassington, with “criminal misconduct in a public official”. Your Eyewitness already weighed in on the ridiculousness of instituting an archaic, COMMON LAW criminal charge.
So, have no fear, he isn’t going to regale you again, dear reader, with the arcane technical minutia of that loose and imprecise medieval charge — which has caused England to propose it be eliminated altogether for a statutory alternative.
‘Cause the PPP has come up with the identical charge against two sitting ministers of the PNC-led Government!! Payback’s a b*tch!!
Basil Williams, the foot-and-mouth-prone Attorney General, immediately erupted about the “ridiculousness” of this move. He knows he’s been checkmated. While maybe not having the pedigree of, say, the maxims of equity, our local principle of “do fuh do na obeah” does seem to be apropos!! Williams has all but demanded the constitutionally independent DPP file a nolle prosecui — not to prosecute – in the PPP charges.
But that’s exactly what the PPP wants!! The DPP would have to state on what “substantial grounds” she’s halting that prosecution – impreciseness of the common law charge? Availability of statutory alternatives?? Whatever! — and those are the very reasons the PPP can use to demand the charges against THEIR two officials be also dropped!! Our local expression, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, after all, is as English as you can get, and might very well be the basis of “Equity”, which puts a halt to the arbitrariness of the common law!!
But behind the gamesmanship of the PNC pandering to its gallery — in which it raised great expectations — is the serious matter of them once again putting pressure on the judicial system to do their dirty work. Back in the day, Burnham moved the Arnold Rampersaud case from Berbice to Georgetown for that reason. He was disappointed…and we believe once again he will be, from his residence at Seven Ponds.
While Williams thought he was clever to use the ambiguities and looseness of the common law charge to give the Judiciary wriggle room to convict the PPP’s ex-ministers, they’ve now been placed in a double bind if they don’t apply the same “rules” to the PNC ministers. And it matters not that the DPP might’ve interjected with a nolle prosecui – as Ramkarran SC predicted. Even Williams would know that this does not operate as an acquittal.
Lawrence and Norton can always be charged again by the PPP!!
…on People’s Power
Opposition Leader Jagdeo quite rightly raised the impropriety of Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan pronouncing conclusively that the CCJ WILL rule for his PNC-led Government on the “sovereignty of the people” case in front of the CCJ. Ramjattan, of course, could be whistling in the dark, because he’s scared sh*tless his nemesis Jagdeo might be running again!! That’s his and Nagamootoo’s worst nightmare.
He therefore deliberately obfuscates the issue in the case: that the “sovereignty of the people” is possibly infringed by the amendments restricting qualifications on running for the presidency. The term limit is only ONE such restriction. So Ramjattan can be excused for avoiding the “basic structure doctrine” our Supreme and Appellate Courts utilised to reach their decision.
But how can AG Williams actually claim “the doctrine does not apply to Guyana and any other CARICOM country that has a constitution that mirrors the Westminster model”? As your Eyewitness pointed out before, there are two such cases from Belize – Bowen (2009) and BCB (2011)!!
Have his octogenarian 5 Legal Advisers fallen asleep?
…and the IMF’s advisory
The Government-controlled Chronic bigged up the IMF’s new anti-corruption guidelines. Will they now highlight the same IMF’s criticism of the obscene terms of Trotman’s oil contract?
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands!