Opposition rebuffs Govt’s attempts to act outside of caretaker mode

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill

The Parliamentary Opposition yesterday rebuffed attempts by the coalition administration to act outside of its current caretaker status.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan on July 10, 2019 wrote to the Opposition, seeking nominees to sit on several committees to be established under the Natural Resources Fund Act.

The committees are the Investment and Macro Economic Committees.

In response via a letter on July 15, 2019, the Opposition reminded the government that what it is seeking to do is unlawful.

Penned by former junior Finance Minister Juan Eghill, the correspondent highlighted that what the government is seeking to do is “unauthorised, outside of your constitutional mandate, and is not properly set in law.”

Former Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill

It was only on Friday that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) reaffirmed its position that the Government should be acting in a caretaker capacity, meaning the current government will serve during the interim period until elections, which are mandated in three months after the passage of a no-confidence motion.

In this case, due to prolonged legal proceedings, the CCJ said the three months now take effect from June 18 – when it ruled that the motion was validly passed.

As such, Edghill pointed out that the bill in question was debated in the National Assembly after the government was defeated by the no-confidence motion last year.

“Act No 12 of 2019 followed as a result of a Bill that was debated in the National Assembly after December 21, 2018, when your Government was defeated by a majority vote on a motion of no confidence.”

“In essence, your Government and you lost the mandate to pursue such actions as you did on January 3, 2019; you proceeded even against the best of advice and public pronouncements made.”

Reminding the Finance Minister of the CCJ ruling, Edghill posited that “It, therefore, follows that the executive is now resigned and government remains in office for the purpose of holding General and Regional Elections.”

Edghill added: “As a member of the resigned Cabinet you are not authorized to pursue the matters contained in the above-mentioned correspondences to the Leader of the Opposition.”

He made it clear that there can be no appointment of members to the committees and as such, there will be no nominations from the Leader of the Opposition.