Williams and Nandlall square off on Red House matter.
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and Attorney General, Basil Williams today (Monday February 20, 2017) had another showdown in the court but this time over the highly publicized Red House saga.
The two appeared in the Chambers of the Acting Chief Justice, Yonette Cummings- Edwards for AG Williams to give response to an affidavit filed by Nandlall about 21 days ago. Mr Williams however, used the opportunity to file preliminary submissions in relation to the jurisdiction of the Court in the matter.
Mr Nandlall in his post- Chamber comments to the media said he found the Attorney General’s submissions to be “very difficult to understand” and premature.
“They are very deeply flawed and the points he has made does not relate to the jurisdiction of the Court. They relate more to whether the case has merits or not and they are premature to be made at this stage of the proceedings” Nandlall said.
AG Williams on the other hand believes that Nandlall in his affidavit “did not disclose fully and frankly the material fact in relation to his contention that the Red House lease was valid.” This is why the Attorney General says he sought to clarify the parts of the affidavit he found to be contentious as they would prevent the Court from having jurisdiction to proceed to hear the matter.
Williams further noted that paragraph 21 of the affidavit also invoked the name of President David Granger by saying he authorized or ordered that the lease be revoked but the Constitution says a sitting President cannot be sued.
“Under Article 182, the President cannot be sued. You cannot institute any civil action for any decision made by the President in the functions of executing his office as President so all these things would stop the learned Chief Justice from proceeding further with this matter and thereby entitling her strike out the application, discharge the application, any order made in the application and don’t have to deal with the action itself. ”
On December 29, last a statement from the Ministry of the President informed that President David Granger had ordered that the lease for the building known as The Red House to the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre Incorporated (CJRCI) be revoked and that the occupants vacate the property by December 31, 2016.
This decision was said to be made based on the invalidity of the lease that allowed the CJRCI to occupy the building.
However, the board of the CJRCI had moved to the court seeking a conservatory order, which AG Willliams says was not granted. The matter was then put to be heard today.
Mr Nandlall is set to make his reply to the Attorney General’s submissions on Thursday March 2, 2017 at 10:00 hours.