The Guyana government has chalked up as much as GY$10 million legal bill for hiring two Barbadian Queens Counsel to defend the presidential third term limits case at the Guyana Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Attorney General Basil Williams said Wednesday.
“No one lawyer got more than five million dollars. They did well; I think the two Barbadian lawyers did well,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News. GY$10 million is equivalent to about U$50,000 or BDS$100,000.
The two lawyers are Ralph Thorne and Hal Gollop.
They were also hired separately by the State to defend the constitutionality of the appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice James Patterson in a legal challenge brought by the People’s Progressive Party (PPPC).
Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire’s decision that has upheld the appointment has since been challenged by the PPP, and indications are that that case could also end up at the Trinidad-based CCJ.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General hailed the CCJ’s judgement that says the Guyana Constitution was properly amended to provide for term limits, saying that it was a “landmark decision” that is good for the country’s political life.
“You cannot begin to fathom the implications of such a decision. It would change the entire political spectrum of Guyana and people’s approach to politics in Guyana. For example, for you to be a professional politician you have to have some independent occupation because you know you can’t go in there (to the presidency) and be permanent,” he said.
In some circles inside and outside the PPP, it is believed that that party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo was behind the constitutional challenge in the name of an unknown person, Cedric Richardson. It is believed that Jagdeo, who was twice elected in 2001 and 2006, was hoping to have the constitutional amendment struck down to allow him to run a third term.