By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Without any public notice or announcement, President David Granger has left the jurisdiction for Trinidad and Tobago for “private business,” which saw Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo being sworn in as Acting President.
When questioned about the President’s impromptu departure, Nagamootoo and Vice President, Carl Greenidge were initially secretive about the President’ trip and even his location during a press conference at Parliament building on Monday, August 24.
But due to continuous questions from the media, it was revealed that the President left Guyana on Sunday, August 23 and is expected to return today, Monday August 24.
At first, Greenidge said that the President is away on “formal but not official” business; however Nagamootoo later clarified that the trip is a private one.
Another issue of contention however is that Nagamootoo arrived at Parliament today for the consideration of the Budget estimates, something which the Opposition PPP objects to.
Nagamootoo is of the view that there is no issue with him being the Acting President and present in the National Assembly. When questioned about the issue, he told reporters, “ I am here as Prime Minister of Guyana and as Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, who has been assigned additional functions of the President; I’m still the Prime Minister of Guyana…I’m here not as acting President but Prime Minister performing the functions of the Office of the President.”
Former Attorney General and Opposition Parliamentarian, Anil Nandlall has criticized this position of the acting President, making it clear that he cannot be in the National Assembly until he’s no longer the acting President.
“His presence here and if he attempts to participate in any proceedings of the National Assembly, it will be in violation of the constitution of Guyana. It is shocking that Mr Nagamootoo who is a lawyer and all the lawyers who are on that side are not aware of such an elementary, legal and constitutional requirement,” Nandlall told iNews.
According to the former AG, if the acting President is sitting as a Parliamentarian, then “the entire business of the Parliament will be tainted by an unconstitutionality and that means that the entire proceedings that we will be embarking upon will be unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.”
Nandlall said that the issue was raised with the Speaker of the National Assembly.