Harmon hints at another court action to delay enforcing Judicial Review Act

State Minister, Joseph Harmon
State Minister, Joseph Harmon

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Thursday hinted that Government could be moving to the country’s highest appellate court to reverse the High Court’s ruling which compels the Legal Affairs Minister to activate the Judicial Review Act (JRA).

Minister Harmon told reporters at this week’s post Cabinet press briefing that the matter is currently before Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams, who will then have to advise Cabinet before a decision is taken on the way forward.

“There are various levels, so it may very well be that the advice would be to take it to another level. So it might very well be that cabinet will need to advise the Minister of Legal Affairs to the course of action to be taken” Harmon revealed.

The State Minister said that the matter is expected to come up before Cabinet at its next meeting.

The National Assembly had approved the Judicial Review Bill since October 2010 and it was assented to by the then President one month later.

However, the Act, which allows ordinary Guyanese to seek legal remedies such as injunctions and compensation against any public officer or any statutory agency, could not have been activated without the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) which took effect in February, 2017.

Former Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had filed a lawsuit asking the court to compel his successor Basil Williams to activate the law.

Chief Justice Roxane George granted the request, ordering the Legal Affairs Minister to activate the JRA by July 31, 2018.

However, Williams, who among other things, contended that the JRA needed to be fine-tuned, turned to the Appeal Court to have the lower court ruling stayed.

But Justice of Appeal, Rafiq Khan, dismissed the stay of execution application, saying that the Minister is trying to frustrate and obstruct the operationalization of the JRA.

Nandlall has since posited that he will be filing contempt of court proceedings against the Minister, who according to him, has been avoiding being served by the court. 



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