Opposition “making a mockery of our legal system” – PM

[fruitful_sep]DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 23, 2018

“The Opposition is making a mockery of our legal system and is trying to cast aspersions on the court proceedings in Guyana. I have never seen such an Opposition parading in such a manner before the forum of justice and trying to make our system less effective or less recognised among the world best practices for a judicial system.”

This declaration was made by the Prime Minister and First Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo following the termination of charges laid by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall against Ministers Volda Lawrence and Dr. George Norton.

Prime Minister and First Vice President, Hon. Moses Nagamootoo

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said that the issues brought by the Opposition are ones that have been ventilated by the Parliament and have forced him to question the extent of the former Attorney General’s knowledge “about legal proceedings in Guyana”.

A notice issued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Chamber’s this morning stated that the charges concern a “grave issue” under the criminal law in relation to two serving ministers. It said, in the interest of good governance in the State of Guyana, such allegations should have first been reported to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for an investigation to be launched and the advice of the DPP sought. The DPP discontinued the charges under Article 187 (1) (c) of Guyana’s Constitution.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said “the constitution of Guyana had foreseen that they would be frivolous, vexatious and useless charges which would amount to waste of time of the court and then would amount to an abuse of the legal process. And so, it has provided that the Director of Public Prosecution discontinue a charge whereby the DPP finds that there is no basis for such prosecution nor had there been an investigation that would have satisfied the DPP that there is evidence upon which a trial can proceed.”

The charges against the ministers came a week after the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) brought charges against former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL)/ Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington, for illegally selling three plots of land for over GY$900M.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo described the counter-charges as a “tit-for-tat” and noted that the opposition’s actions are an attempt to undermine the legal system and question the authority of judicial officers. This, he underscored, is “a grave situation”.

“So, I don’t see a chance that any of these spurious counter-charges privately filed by the PPP MPs succeeding in the court. I think the mischief that is being created by the fact that charges being filed and the Jagdeo gang is creating as a smoke screen to hide the seriousness of allegation against the former government officials, and Guyanese can see through the smoke screen, the shenanigans, and these side-shows by the Opposition.”

In conclusion, Prime Minister Nagamootoo observed that there is currently turmoil among the leadership of the Opposition; therefore, these charges are a massive diversion. He noted that the DPP acted in accordance with the constitution to discontinue the charges.

By: Gabreila Patram

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