Unions back out of challenge to Granger-era COVID-19 measures

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Several local trade unions had challenged the government’s COVID-19 Emergency Measures, first instituted under the David Granger-led administration, but they have now decided to withdraw.

Attorney-at-law Darren Wade, who is representing the heads of three major Union bodies, on Thursday withdrew the application to challenge the COVID-19 protocols and vaccination requirements.

During a virtual hearing before Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, at the Demerara High Court, Wade made an application for the challenge to be withdrawn.

The challenge was against the COVID-19 emergency measures issued by former President David Granger in March 2020. Those measures gave power to a group of government ministers who were part of the National COVID-19 Task Force. The applicants had claimed that Granger exceeded his authority when he issued the COVID-19 emergency measures, and were, therefore, calling for them to be quashed.

More recently, however, President Dr. Irfaan Ali ordered that the authority of issuing and managing COVID-19 regulations should be redirected to the Central Board of Health (CBH). This Board id provided for in the 1934 Public Health Ordinance.

As such, Wade was of the view that the legal challenge would be redundant. The Chief Justice agreed, and granted the application for the challenge to be withdrawn. She also ordered that the parties bear their own costs.

Following the ruling, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC explained that the President’s legislative interventions rendered the challenge “merely academic.”

“…. Guyana’s COVID-19 laws are now promulgated as Regulations under the authority Central Board of Health in exercise of powers which it is conferred with under sections 48 and 157 of the Public Health Ordinance Chapter 145.

“This intervention cured all the technical deficiencies that the Applicants were alleging against the then Covid-19 Guidelines,” the Attorney- General explained in a press release.

The Attorney- General was the named respondent on the Fixed Date Application filed by the three unions: The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC.)

In September last year, High Court Judge Fidela Corbin-Lincoln refused an application filed by the parties seeking an injunction to stop the government from implementing a slew of COVID-19 measures, which among other things, prevented unvaccinated persons from accessing public buildings and seeking government services unless they produce a negative PCR test.

It allows for the government to continue to impose the restrictions unhindered.

The Judge ruled that although such injunctions can be granted, the applicants failed to convince the Court that it was necessary.

1 Comment
  1. Matthew says

    One of the worlds most duncy Court cases finished. Some right wing racists groups in the other parts of the world had the same lawsuits. they will find a cure for Covid many years before they find a cure for sheer stupidness.

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