Govt has no authority to pass bills unrelated to elections, says former AG

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Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall

With the passage of several bills during the 112th sitting of the 11th Parliament, former Attorney General and Member of Parliament for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Anil Nandlall has made it clear that only certain bills can be passed in the house under current circumstances.

In an interview with this media group, Nandlall made it clear that after a Government falls to a no-confidence vote, the current circumstances in question, it cannot be “business as usual.”

“Naturally, Government is expected to provide the basic services of the state to the citizens, which are public security, public health, public utilities, payment of salaries of public servants, etc…”

Besides these basic services, Nandlall made it clear that Government also has to give the highest priority to preparing the electoral machinery, in the form of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for elections within three months.

“Any bills which are necessary to accomplish those objectives ought to be passed. However, the Government will have no authority to bring in new legislation that are unrelated to those matters to which I made reference,” Nandlall said.

“Government cannot embark on new capital projects and cannot begin implementing new policies; more so, those that cannot be completed in time for elections. Any expenditure of public funds on those types of projects can be regarded as unlawful and may attract criminal liability,” he added.

On Thursday, the Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill No 20 of 2018; the Capital Gains (Amendment) Bill; the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill and the Natural Resources Fund of 2018 were all passed in the National Assembly.

While Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland called for those in favour and against these bills to speak up, only the ‘I’s from the Government side were heard.

That is because the PPP parliamentarians boycotted the sitting on account of its unconstitutionality.

Meanwhile, Government has insisted it is going nowhere until elections are held.

A court case was filed on Friday, in which an order is being sought to, among other things, delay the elections until the court rules on the matter.

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