Legal challenge by ‘public enemies’ against COVID protocols ‘grounded in ignorance’ – Nandlall
The heads of three major union bodies were reprimanded on Friday by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, who is currently preparing a response to legal proceedings which challenge the government’s COVID-19 protocols and vaccination requirements.
Backed by political activists Corretta McDonald, Lincoln Lewis and Dawn Gardener, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) want the High Court to declare all the protocols and guidelines issued since March 2020 as unlawful.
In the application to the High Court, they asked for an injunction against the State, stopping the implementation of all the COVID-19 measures – a request that Nandlall said he finds strange.
The proceedings were filed after the government’s gazetted August guidelines prevented unvaccinated persons from visiting government agencies and ministries unless they make an appointment or produce a negative PCR COVID-19 test; the same applies for public servants and other employees.
The Attorney General explained that legal proceedings are normally initiated to vindicate, assert or seek some remedy for some wrongdoing, injustice or violation of someone’s rights.
“These proceedings seem not to be oriented in that direction… what they seek to do is to challenge the COVID-19 protocols that were issued by [former] President [David] Granger since March 2020.
“They are now arguing in September 2021, that President Granger exceeded his authority, that President Granger acted unconstitutionally, that President Granger is guilty of delegating authority when the law does not permit it, that Granger acted outside of the scope of his powers and in contravention of the public health ordinance,” Nandlall told the News Room on Friday.
Nandlall said Lewis, McDonald, Wade and Gardener are all public enemies because they adhered to the protocols for more than a year and were even vaccinated themselves under those very guidelines they now find fault with.
“This is a human rights tragedy. One of the worse things a society can do against itself and members in the face of a pandemic, to stop the State from responding to a medical emergency…
“Fortunately, it is grounded in complete ignorance,” Nandlall said.
Moreover, he said the legal challenge, which was filed by attorney Darren Wade and lists only the Attorney General as a respondent, erred in law; he believes chaos would erupt across the country if any of the reliefs are granted by the High Court.
“Any first-year law student, not even a bright one, would tell you that you can’t get an injunction against the State, they are frontally asking for an injunction against the State – not that they will get it.
“In other words, we must not wear masks, not sanitize, assembly however we want, don’t take the vaccines. In other words, we must sit and die as a people in the face of a plundering global pandemic,” he added.