More delays mar budget cut Court case

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – The appeal filed by Opposition Leader David Granger was heard by Justices Rishi Persaud and James Bovell Drakes on Tuesday, November 19 as the 2012 Budget cut case continued in the High Court.

Appearing on behalf of Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall were Attorneys Ashton Chase SC, Safraz Hussein and Ariana McLean. They requested that the hearing be put down for a later date due to the AG being overseas.

Minister Nandlall is part of a high – level team meeting the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force in the Bahamas to discuss Guyana’s failure to pass it Anti-money laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Bill.

On June 19, a decision was taken by acting Chief Justice Ian Chang to remove the Opposition Leader, as well as Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, as respondents from the case, on the basis that as Members of Parliament, the Constitution provides them with immunity. Granger has since sought to waive his immunity and appealed the decision.

Minister Nandlall has requested that the court dismiss the appeal filed by Granger, “as it was misconceived and wholly flawed”.

He has stressed that the case was out of the High Court’s jurisdiction. Justice Chang, in a preliminary ruling on the case, said the National Assembly cannot cut the budget and the Finance Minister has the authority to allocate monies as needed.

But the opposition again in 2013 slashed more than $30 billion from the estimates, prompting a return to the court for a final ruling on the issue. The High Court case is set to continue hearing on December 10, 2013.

Attorney Basil Williams, Granger’s lawyer, argued that Justice Chang’s decision to exclude Granger from the budget cuts case was unfair to the opposition, and that Granger was not dismissed, but struck out of the case.

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