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Speaker appeals High Court ruling against budget cut

The Chamber of the National Assembly

As parliamentarians prepare to debate the 2014 National Budget, House Speaker Raphael Trotman has appealed a High Court decision that the National Assembly could not cut the estimate of expenditures.

In moving to the Court of Appeal against the January 29,2012 ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang, the Speaker said the Judge was wrong in finding that it was illegal and unconstitutional for the 65-seat House and its Committee of Supply could not amend or reduce the estimates of revenues and expenditures.

Trotman is further asking the Court of Appeal to overturn that aspect of Chang’s ruling that the Finance Minister had a right to make advances and withdrawals on the Contingencies Fund to restore GUY$21 billion that were reduced from the 2012 Budget by the National Assembly.

The Speaker is also challenging the Chief Justice’s position that the Standing Orders- the rules governing the House- were not rules, laws or subsidiary laws and so have no bearing on Guyana’s constitution.

The Court of Appeal is also being called upon to find that the Chief Justice misconstrued several articles and clauses of the Constitution that has removed the power of the House to amend or reduce the estimates for the purpose of charging them to the Consolidated Fund.

Trotman also disagrees with the Chief Justice that the National Assembly’s amendment and reduction of expenditures for the 2012 National Budget violated the separation of powers and so was unconstitutional because the House assumed functions of the Executive tthat were delegated to the Finance Minister.

The Court of Appeal also being asked to throw out the High Court’s assertion that it enjoys a supervisory jurisdiction over the House and its Committee of Supply as far as considering, deciding and charging those estimates to the Consolidated Fund.