Stabroek News

Gov’t getting licks like peas in court, it must do something about it

stabroek news letter oct 18, 2018

Government loses two cases in one day- what the hell is going on?

 The Government of Guyana, under the leadership of President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, and Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams S.C., has had two cases, in one day, ruled against it. These are the High Court ordering the  State to pay High Commissioner Nawbatt for wrongful dismissal, and the High Court dismissing the Attorney General’s ‘no jurisdiction’ arguments on local gov’t boundaries.


What the hell is going on? Is Cabinet meeting to see that it has earned the infamy, thus far, of being the only government that has lost so many cases in the Court? These are the type of critical reviews that its members need to engage in. Does Cabinet also recognise this government has the most attorneys-at-law, of any administration, within its leadership structure but cannot get its act together to act in accordance with the Laws and/or mount spirited representation in the Court, which is/are represented by the numerous cases it has been losing?

Shouldn’t political instinct and preservation nudge one into action having recognised the bleeding and the expected desire to want to do better? These cases which the government is losing see former Attorney General Anil Nandlall as the victors’ representative. Simply put, the government is getting licks like peas and being beaten by Nandlall. From the layman’s point of view, it looks like the coalition has a set of `canta’ lawyers and the AG’s Chambers is not being well served.


Please, coalition leaders –the formal and informal- don’t do the Trumpian thing and tell supporters the Court is against you because this present Court is not. It is showing a strong sense of independence and restoring Guyanese confidence in the Judiciary, which are features that were absent for years. By the Court’s performance President Granger has already lost the argument of not wanting to confirm acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards and acting Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire.

The coalition has within, the People’s National Congress (PNC), whose two premier leaders, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and Hugh Desmond Hoyte were attorneys-at-law of repute. They would not have tolerated what is happening here because it does damage to the party’s image and undermines a mandate to govern. Has the PNC’s Central Executive Council seen the importance of looking into this state of affairs? I’m no lawyer but the rudiments of seeking to first source the authority that allows action(s) and ensuring compliance, failing which dire consequence will be borne, is commonsense. After acting out of compliance you cannot ask the Court not to entertain the case, which has become the ‘new thing,’ or you go to represent what you know is wrong from the get go.

The only prominent case the Government has won, thus far, is the third-term, at the Caribbean Court of Justice. Notably, the representation was led by non-Guyanese lawyers. This is not comforting.

Mistakes will be made in governance, none can deny, but the overflow of ‘mistakes’ has reached an alarming proportion and most embarrassing.

Government needs to understand and accept that the plethora of cases being lost or dismissed could undermine the legitimacy of the Executive and its institutions. Fix it! Now.

Yours faithfully,

Minette Bacchus

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