Nandlall fumes against ‘concocted’ charges; heckled to fight his case in court


Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall used his contribution to the 2019 Budget Debate Friday morning to chastise the Government over whathe saw as violations of the rule of law.

In an obvious reference to the Government’s claims that he stole law books from his Chambers when he functioned as Attorney General, Nandall fired off at the current administration.

“…the institution of contrived and concocted charges against your political opponents is not only vindictive, petty politics, but it is an assault on the rule of law,” he declared in the House.

Those on the Government side of the House heckled that he should fight his case in Court.

On November 23, City Magistrate Fabayo Azore ruled that sufficient evidence was provided by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for Nandlall to answer to the charge thathe stole $2 million in law books.

The charges brought against Nandlall and former Government Ministers by SOCU was only one reference on a listfrom which he cited the Government for breach of the rule of the rule of law.

Nandlall protested that every Guyanese is guaranteed under the Constitution, protection of the law from “vindictive and malicious prosecutions.”

While he agreed with the statement in the 2019 budget speech that “…the rule of law serves as the backbone of any society,” he said the examples hewalked with shows the reality in Guyana is different.

Nandlall took aim at Minister of Health Volda Lawrence, who recently told one of her PNC party meetings that she has only PNC friends, and so those whom she could give work to was the PNC.The Minister has since apologized for her comments.

But that did not stop Nandlall, who walked with the front page of the Stabroek News on which Lawrence’snow infamous quotes was emblazoned.

“…that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law.

“It strikes at the very soulof the constitutional rights and freedoms of the people of this land,” Nandlall declared.

Nandlall argued that every Guyanese is guaranteed under the Constitution, as a fundamental right and freedom, equality of treatment; protection from any and all forms of discrimination; the right to hold different political views and to belong to a political party of their choice; protection of the law from vindictive andmalicious prosecutions and a whole host of other rights and freedoms.”

Other charges, he said, showed there was an assault on the rule of law and the constitution include the failure to constitute the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for over year now; the revocation of rice farmers’ leases and attempts to dispossess them from their rice lands; the failure of this Administration to deposit the US$18Msigning bonus into the Consolidated Fund; and “the multiple and rampant violations of the Procurement Act by this Administration is a violation of the rule of law.”

He said that nation continues to be treated with perfunctory declarations of its commitment to constitutional reform when there has been no appreciable effort on the part of the Government to push this agenda, “althoughit has been given to the Prime Minister, who has no other portfolio.”

He lamented the fact that all that exists on constitutional reform is a report by a committee done years ago but that has not been madepublic.

“This committee did not consult with either the public, nor the only Opposition in the Parliament.

“The report, apparently, ranks among the State’s most high-profile secrets, since no one has ever seen it.”

He noted that while a Bill on Constitutional Reform was tabled in the National Assembly this year, it was sent to the Standing Committee on Constitutional Reform, which met only once.

“Today, there is a meeting of that Committee. The invitation was sent only 2 days ago, obviously done to create a façade that the Committee is working,” Nandlall charged. 

“That is the sum total of the Government’s effort in 4 years in delivering one of its major campaign promises.

“With the Government’s axiomatic record on breaking promises made, I project that in 2019, we will have a few gaff sessions on constitutional reform with nothing of substance crystalizing.”

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