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Felix, Scott back in Parliament

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Attorney General Basil Williams

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Attorney General Basil Williams

Ministers of Government and Technocrat Members of Parliament Winston Felix and Keith Scott are now clear to return to the National Assembly after the Chancellor of the Judiciary ruled in favor of the state at a hearing on Friday morning.

Both Scott and Felix were banned from Parliament based on a ruling by Former Chief Justice Ian Chang. The CJ recently ruled that Scott and Felix’s presence as members of the House were unconstitutional on the basis that Technocrat Members of the House cannot be pulled from a Party’s list of representatives.

Attorney General Basil Williams appealed that ruling on Friday which saw Chancellor Carl Singh granting a stay of execution on the ruling by the Chief Justice.

Shortly after leaving the Court of Appeal on Friday Williams told reporters that he made an application for an interim stay pending the determination of the application for stay.

“The interim stay has been granted. It means the two ministers can attend parliament today until the application for stay is heard fully,” Williams declared.

Meanwhile, Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall was visibly upset with the ruling by the Chancellor declaring that he found the entire situation strange. he stated that he was not served with a copy of the Ex Parte application.

“I got wind of it and I wrote to the court and I requested an opportunity to be present. I was served this morning while the court case is ongoing…I find that very strange. Stays of Execution are not granted Ex Parte without hearing the other side…they have not heard me.” he stated.

The Opposition MP also indicated that the orders which are granted by the Chief Justice are all declaration and cannot be stayed.

“What are you staying? You don’t stay a declaration: they are not orders that are coercive… they are declaring a state of affairs,” he said.

Williams later explained that he never served him because the matter is “sufficiently urgent there being parliament today. He had written a letter that was not served on me. He wanted to be heard so he was heard.” (Jomo Brusheildon Paul)

  • Emile_Mervin

    The irony of this case is that it has been overtaken by political spite and venom. First, although I usually disagree with Ian Chang for his pro-PPP rulings, his ruling for the PPP against Felix and Scott sitting as technocratic ministers while having their names on the Coalition’s List of Candidates is based on sound practice.
    There is no constitutional law on this matter, so the practice of naming technocratic ministers becomes the guiding principle. Unfortunately, there is no case precedence throughout the Commonwealth that shows a technocratic minister being drawn from the ruling party. Technocratic ministers are drawn from civil society for their technical expertise or background. WHAT ARE FELIX AND SCOTT’S TECHNICAL BACKGROUND FOR THEIR CURRENT CABINET POSTS?
    Second, when Chang made his ruling, AG Williams was not afforded an in-person hearing as a respondent, which was very disrespectful to Williams. Now, we have Carl Singh making a decision without Anil Nandlall being afforded an in-person hearing, which was very disrespectful to Nandlall.
    This s where I think political power play is beginning to take shape in the Judiciary, and if my thinking is correct here, then the PPP is in for a very rough ride now that Chang is gone.
    That being said, I still prefer to see the Judiciary appear to be above the political fray and make decisions based on legal merit. I have no idea whether this interim stay will take on a long-term stay in favor of the Coalition, but in terms of major issues deserving greater attention, this is not up there.
    If anything, Guyana may become a case reference for other countries where party members are appointed technocratic cabinet ministers.

    • Col123

      EM…see…I can see you points, which make it palatable ….without all the name calling and downright irritating personal stuff…thanks.

  • Emile_Mervin

    There is nothing in the Guyana constitution about technocratic ministers; this is based on tradition, as has been evidenced throughout the Commonwealth and, more recently, Europe. Party candidates/members are never appointed technocrats! Never!

    Use your Internet access and research technocratic ministers and government to get a grasp of the meaning of the terminology. Once you see the history of its evolution you will understand why Chang was right on this one.

    In fact, there is a reason why AG Williams went for an interim stay: the coalition needed votes in Parliament, and an interminable stay was not possible by constitutional law or case precedent. SHOW ME THE COUNTRY WHERE A PARTY MEMBER BECAME A TECHNOCRAT!

  • Emile_Mervin

    1. The Judiciary has been politically compromised since in the Burnham era.

    2. Why didn’t the coalition ask Chang’s replacement, Justice Roxanne George, to review Chang’s ruling against Felix and Scott, since George now assigns cases?

    Now that Chang is finally gone, the coalition has Singh by the marbles. He either sings their song or he will be singing a different tune else where.