Attorney General worried about implications for President being sued with Chief Justice ruling to hear Red House lease matter
Acting Chief Justice, Yonnette Cummings- Edwards has ruled that the case of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) Incorporated will be heard by the High Court.
The Acting Chief Justice gave her ruling today (Friday, March 24, 2017) during an in camera session with Attorney General Basil Williams and Anil Nandlall, who appeared on behalf of the CJRC Inc.
Mr. Nandlall is challenging the Attorney General and the Lands and Surveys Commission for the revocation of the 99 year lease, his client had on Red House, 65-66 High Street, Kingston, Georgetown.
However, the Attorney General is contending that this move opens the President to being sued. Mr Williams had earlier contended that under Article 182 of the Constitution, civil action could not be brought against the President for any decision made while executing functions as President.
“The effect of overruling us in the jurisdiction point is actually saying that the President even though the applicant who said the President has done this act and they verily believe he has done so; the applicant could still come and sue the President” the Attorney General said.
The learned Attorney General is also concerned about the suit brought against the Commissioner of the Lands of Surveys Commission as he believes the Court cannot have jurisdiction over the Red House lease as leases greater than 21 years must be executed in the manner of a transport before the Court and filed with the Deeds Registry.
He contends that this was not done but the Acting Chief Justice’s ruling now allows Mr Nandlall to include his Late Bill Affidavit which says Former President Donald Ramotar sanctioned the Red House lease.
“The effect of the Court’s decision would therefore enable Nandlall to bring in Former President Ramotar’s Late Bill Affidavit. If you recall that Affidavit purports to say, patch a hole or a lacuna in his application that no Presidential sanction or approval was given for the lease” Williams explained.
The Attorney General has now been granted leave to file an Affidavit of reply within the next seven days.
Hearings for the matter are set for April 12 and 21, 2017.