Govt will triumph

― the transformation started must continue – AG Williams tells Karasabai residents

DPI, Guyana, Monday, February 18, 2019

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC., said he is confident that just as ‘good triumphs over evil’ the APNU+AFC Government will triumph over the December 21 vote.

Minister Williams was speaking at a community meeting in Karasabai Village located in the South Pakaraima, Region 9 where scores of residents gathered at the village benab to welcome him along with Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, and Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe.

“I’m submitting to you that the good works that the government has started three and a half years ago must continue… those years of transformation cannot be eliminated or erased,” AG Williams told the residents.

After the December 21 vote, the government submitted its case to the High Court where the Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George presides. After written submissions and lengthy oral arguments, on January 31, the CJ ruled that the motion was legally passed in the National Assembly.

The Attorney General stated that while the government respects the CJ’s decisions, it did not agree with it. A petition was filed at the Court of Appeal for a stay of the government and to preserve the status quo ante (current state of affairs) that the president and ministers should remain in office until the matter is resolved.

“We have three courts [the Magistrate, High and Appeal Courts] and the system is a hierarchal system, and so the CCJ [Caribbean Court of Justice] is our final court of appeal. Just like the third term case, the government will win the case… we will go again, and we will not be satisfied until this matter is resolved in the CCJ,” Minister Williams stressed.

He said that Guyana is on the cusp of development with the new and emerging oil and gas sector and therefore, the resources that will accrue from the industry must be placed in the hands of qualified persons.

“My people, the government knows what it is doing, and we are here to ensure that the people of Guyana have the best opportunities and benefit from the good life… You have to look at the track record of people because there are a lot of countries in the world that have oil and the citizens are poor. We had 23 years, and we always had our natural resources, and we were still poor. The wealth wasn’t distributed to the masses; only a few benefitted… we have oil now… Our government is qualified to have custody of our resources to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from the patrimony of Guyana.”

The AG reminded the residents that the president can only set a date for elections unless advised by GECOM. In this regard, this will only be possible unless the elections commission is prepared to host an election. He clarified that GECOM had budgeted funds for house-to-registration and not a National Election.

“This House-to-House Registration is to clean up that list and to add to it those young people who have turned 18 since the 2015 elections, and young people as you know, are the future of tomorrow; they are the majority in our population, and it would be unconstitutional for us to deprive them of their franchise… They have to also cleanse the list of those persons who have died or migrated.”

Further, the AG said that the doctrine of necessity would never allow for the country to be without a government in place.

“At this time, it is important for the opposition to get together with the government and have consultations with GECOM on the best possible date.”

The government and the opposition would need to return to Parliament to extend the date for elections, through a vote by a two-thirds majority in the House.

In the meantime, the visit by the attorney general to the village forms part of a ministerial outreach in the North, South and Central Rupununi over the weekend. The visit saw 19 ministers along with other officials fanning across 28 villages in just three days.

Synieka Thorne.

Images: Marceano Narine.