EYEWITNESS: Unrestrained…

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…governmental spending power

Well, the PNC/APNU/AFC have now acquired the legal fig leaf to spend the money of the citizens any which way they want to. Not that they didn’t do that when the PPP could scrutinise the Budget: with them having the majority in the National Assembly, it really didn’t matter WHAT the PPP said. The “ayes” always had it – and the Speaker didn’t even bother to lift his head up before banging his gavel!!

But at least the PPP went on the Hansard to record their position on the spending – and it’s clear that the PNC (forget the rest!!) doesn’t even want to offer them this sop. Take the specific line item that precipitated the Speaker’s ruling on Edghill. This wasn’t some inconsequential matter – it had to do with a huge, unexplained, new expenditure of $68 million proposed for the Presidency.

Now, of course, your Eyewitness understands there was an agreement on the time limits for the specific Budget agencies – and the time was up for the “Ministry of the Presidency”. But if the law is not “an ass” – one has to assume the law-making body, the  National Assembly and it’s Speaker that controls it – aren’t also asinine. There should have been an accommodation by the Speaker to deal with MP Edghill’s query.

Back in the early days in the development of the Common Law which still guides our legal system, there were also strict rules that the Judges couldn’t vary from! That straight-jacket gave rise to quite ridiculous (not to mention unfair) results that forced the Judiciary to introduce a notion called “equity”. Under these rules – called the Maxims of Equity – there were new common-sense rules that allowed the courts to “do the right thing” and not let the law be made “an ass”. This view was summarised in one of the Maxims: “Equity sees that as done what ought to be done.”

Now what should Speaker Scotland have done? Edghill was clearly not filibustering and wasting the Assembly’s time. He was seeking legitimate answers that fulfilled his remit to scrutinise the spending of the taxpayers’ money. The Speaker should have applied the spirit of the Maxim of Equity; “Equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights.” Edghill was being vigilant on behalf of the Guyanese citizenry – and God knows he needed to be…think “bonus!” – and he should’ve been aided.

So we have the Speaker facilitating more Government spending like building a wood-ants-infested stadium for $1.5 billion; a pharma warehouse that wasn’t; an illegal single-sourced $605 million pharma contract etc.

The Government now has carte blanche to “do what dey want wid we!”

…lying

Just when the Infrastructure Minister rose in your Eyewitness’ estimation – because of his principled stand against his AFC leaders’ betrayal of their (stated) founding principles – he ups and bursts the balloon. For more than a year, he’s been promising that construction of the new Demerara Bridge will begin in 2018.

Now that blessed year is less than a month away – yet, lo and behold!! – there’s not a penny allocated for it in the present (unscrutinised) budget!

Now, you perceptive readers might point out the bridge is supposed to be a “Build, Operate, Own and Transfer” (BOOT) venture and the Government doesn’t have to spend anything. And you’d be wrong!! Think – at the minimum – of the approaches to be built on both sides of the bridge. The Government has to take care of that.

More specifically, they have to set aside money to pay its financier for the land he snapped up on the Versailles end, with his insider tip!! Political investors, after all, must be paid!!

…Presidential tomfoolery

After all the protestations that Patterson’s GECOM appointment satisfied President Granger’s own criteria, we’re informed he’s still the AG’s advisor!!

Or is that just AG Williams’ “perception”??!! What about the President’s? Forget about the Judiciary!!

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