CCJ ruling renders Govt’s decisions since Dec. 21 questionable- ANUG

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The recently-formed A New and United Guyana (ANUG) party believes that the recent ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that the December 21st No-Confidence motion was validly passed puts every major policy decision made by the National Assembly over the past six months in jeopardy.

“The large policy decisions which have been made over the past few months are suddenly brought into question, said Chairman of ANUG, Timothy Jonas, at a press conference Wednesday at Duke Lodge, Kingston Georgetown.

Jonas, a lawyer by profession, further added, “It is unfortunate that during that period of uncertainty large policy decisions have been made, during a period when everyone knows if a challenge was successful, we are suddenly in a state of uncertainty.”

Following the passage of the No-Confidence motion, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party abstained from the National Assembly, however, the Government unilaterally passed a number of legislation and a supplementary budget.

“How do we revisit those large policy decisions that have been made in the past six months?” Jonas questioned.

Among the bills passed were the Customs (Amendment of Schedules) Bill 2019, intended to replace all the Schedules to the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01; the Interception of Communications (Amendment) Bill 2019, the Procurement (Amendment) Bill 2019, Customs and Trade Single Window System Bill 2019, the Customs (Amendment of Schedules) Bill (2019), the National Accreditation Council (Amendment) Bill 2019, and the National Accreditation Council Act 2004 (Validation) Bill.

One of the key legislation passed is the Natural Resources Fund Bill which governs the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. The Fund details methods to be put in place to ensure transparent management of oil resources and ensure sustainable investments.

The House also passed a motion – the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) (Tax Laws) Order 2019 – No. 2 of 2019 –which affirms the tax waiver afforded to Tullow Guyana B.V., under the Production Sharing Agreement for the Orinduik Block.

The Assembly also adopted several reports of its sectoral committees, while the Government granted the approval for billions of dollars in contracts to be awarded.

Moving forward

ANUG believes that the Government should still remain in place but only in “a state of necessity.”

The Chairman noted, “a state that bare bones of the Government’s operations –public servants going to work, clerks doing their job, the National Insurance Scheme handing out cheques –has to go on but the large policy decisions should not be made.”

He pointed out that had the Government moved ahead in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, following the Speaker’s ruling that the No-Confidence Motion was passed, elections would have been held three months ago.

“We now have a Government that is there three months over time but you can’t say arbitrarily that they must close up shop, lock the doors and walk out because the country needs to operate,” Jonas noted.

ANUG proposes that the Government work out measures for shared governance until elections are held.

The party said it will announce its presidential candidate soon to contest the next elections as it hopes to capture enough votes to sit in the National Assembly.

ANUG believes that in this way, it can be the factor which forces the two major political parties in the 65-seat National Assembly to cooperate and act in the interest of citizens.

The CCJ has given the Government and Opposition until June 24 to find consensus. On that date, the court will reconvene to hear from the parties on what consequential orders should be made and set out a path to the next General and Regional Elections.

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