“We are a law-abiding country, a law-abiding govt” – AG reiterates
─ reminds the business community that Guyana is one of five fastest-growing economies
─ “We are obeying court orders. So, it is erroneous to suggest that we are in breach of the Constitution”
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Basil Williams SC., is reminding the citizenry of the administration’s position following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) ruling, and also in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana. Further, with the government being in office until elections are held, the Attorney General has made it clear that the administration is not in breach of the Constitution.
“We are a law-abiding country, a law-abiding government, and no less a person than the president, himself, has always maintained that we will obey court orders. And, we are obeying court orders. So, it is erroneous to suggest that we are in breach of the Constitution [because] we are not resigning,” the Attorney General firmly stated.
He was at the time addressing a business forum organised and hosted by the Guyana Marriott Hotel and facilitated by the American Chambers of Commerce in Guyana, (AmCham-Guyana).
AG Williams explained to the gathered entrepreneurs and investors that Guyana’s Constitution provides for an extension of time to host General and Regional Elections.
“If you didn’t make the three months, you could make an extension by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly… there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the extension must be another three months; there’s no limit put inside the extension.”
As he delved deeper into the subject, the Attorney General said continued speculation and purposeful misinterpretation of the CCJ ruling was an insult.
“It is insulative to the CCJ, the apex court to disavow its ruling and apply all kinds of insidious thoughts to what the court ruled.”
He said it was also careless to continuously speak of a doom’s day economy in Guyana. He referenced that recently, the country has been determined to be one of the five fastest-growing economies in the world.
“Guyana is the fastest of the five quickest growing countries in the world… So, all of this doomsday sayings and utterances that we have about our government, I don’t know where it is coming from. But, you cannot be the fastest growing economy in the world and still be contending that there is a downturn in our economy. All of the business being given out in connection to oil and gas – all that spending is impacting the economy. And therefore, it is fallacious to allege that there is a downturn in business,” the Attorney General underscored during his address to the business community.
Following the ruling of the CCJ in early July, the government had indicated via release that it welcomes the decision made and accepts that it is an ‘interim’ government. The release also emphasised that “Cabinet has not stopped functioning and government must continue to provide public services. The Constitution of Guyana at Article 106 (7) states that, notwithstanding its defeat in the National Assembly, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election.”
Further, the said release noted that “The Government will comply with the orders issued by the CCJ that, during this ‘interim’ period, it will restrain the exercise of its legal authority.”
To have a better understanding of what this meant, the release from the government continued: “This means that, while the government will continue its routine management of the country, it will also address urgent issues that are in the public interest. It is also prepared to consult with the opposition on matters which require the agreement of both sides.”
The Attorney General had even further explained during a ‘One on One’ interview following the ruling that the Coalition Government retained all its legal powers, noting that:
“We have to keep governing, lest we be overrun by narco-traffickers, those who traffic in persons, the whole question of money laundering and other serious crimes. There cannot be a lapse in [management of] government… a government must be there until the next elections are held… We have to continue to govern to ensure there is no infringement.”