By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The main Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – says its concerns regarding government’s “unauthorized” spending have intensified since Guyana is now confronted with a prorogued Parliament, allowing for no scrutiny of government expenditure and looming general and regional elections.
To this end, a Court Order was filed by the APNU in the High Court which came up yesterday before Chief Justice (ag), Ian Chang and was put off until December 29.
Shadow Legal Affairs Minister and Deputy Speaker, Basil Williams told Reporters this morning, [Tuesday December 16], that it is important for the matter to be resolved urgently, lest government embarks on a splurge of the nation’s money.
“APNU’s Court action filed against the government is intended to stop the pillaging of the nation’s resources and secure the independence of the Parliament,” Williams asserted.
He is hopeful that the matter will be treated with the highest degree of urgency; pointing out that even if the matter runs into elections next year, its resolution is important as Guyana prepares to deal with a minority government.
Williams reminded of the approximately $37 billion that was disapproved by the combined opposition during the 2014 budget consideration. But despite this action, the Executive still went ahead and spent $4.5 billion of those disapproved funds as disclosed by the Finance Minister.
The APNU is worried that the administration may have already spent most, if not all of the disapproved funds.
Williams contended that the government’s action amounts to a breach of the doctrine of the separation of powers as it abridged the decisions of the Parliament and its independence.
APNU is now seeking a Conservatory Order from the Court to stay all spending or any further spending on the programmes disapproved by the National Assembly and other u authorized spending by the government.
Already, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has dismissed the APNU’s court action; maintaining that the administration’s expenditure was lawful and done using provisions in the constitution. Williams, on the other hand, maintains that the APNU’s case has merit and is confident of a victory.
Meanwhile, Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge argued that all expenditure by the Executive must be considered and approved by the House, according to the Guyana Constitution.
He said if the government is allowed to spend both funds that were approved and not approved then there is simply no real value in the consideration and approval of monies to be expended from the consolidated funds.
“The Executive has no power to spend at will,” he said; adding that “the Court seems confused too about the constitution regarding financial regulation.”
He warned that there were sanctions for officers who have gone ahead along with Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and spent disapproved funds.