Pres. Granger grants respite of execution of punishment imposed on Min. Jordan

─ executive powers granted under Article 188(1)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana

─ the move follows govt’s decision to appeal the judgment ordering the state to pay millions to Trinidad-based construction company – a debt inherited from previous govt

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

President David Granger, under powers granted under Article 188(1)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana, has granted a “respite of execution of punishment imposed on Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan until all appeals and remedies available to him and the State have been exhausted”. This follows the government’s move to appeal the judgement ordering the state to pay $460M (US$2.2M) awarded to Trinidad based DIPCON Construction Company for road construction works.

The government had inherited the State debt amounting approximately $460M owed to the company for contracts completed under the former PPP administration

Article 188(1) empowers the president to “grant to any person concerned in or convicted of any offence under the law of Guyana, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions”. Article 188 (1)(b) adds that the president may “grant to any person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence”.

This came even as several appeals were filed against a court order, by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry who ordered that Minister Jordan pay DIPCON the sum of $460M (US$2.2M) owed, on or before July 8, failing which he is to be confined for 21 days. She further ordered that $3M, in costs, be paid by the finance minister, in his personal capacity.

Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams SC., later moved to the Full Court for a stay. This was denied by Justices Diana Insanally and Simone Morris-Ramlall, on July 5, who dismissed this move as having “no merit”. Legal representatives have filed appeals for a stay, in the Appeal Court.

Asked about the move to force payment from a minister in his personal capacity, Minister Jordan pointed out that the case was one against the state since he had not contracted DIPCON, in his personal capacity. The upholding of such a ruling, the minister noted, could see many former ministers being placed before the courts for matters which the state or government of the day, were responsible.

He added that his record of service is unblemished, and he stated it would remain that way. The minister will soon make available a list of the billions of dollars in judgements awarded by the courts, which the Coalition is now being saddled with, against the previous PPP government.

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