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…cite cases he argued against in opposition, but now arguing for
While accusing the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall of ill-advising President Irfaan Ali, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde said Nandlall’s duplicitous stance on matters of national importance does not augur well for Guyana.
“He provided poor advice on the swearing in of Oneidge Walrond, who was not qualified to be a Member of the National Assembly and a Minister. He provided poor advice to the President and Government on the issue of the Parliamentary Secretaries. We will soon see that he provided poor advice on the constitutionality of [the] Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2021 which sought to strip the Constitutional Agencies of their constitutionally guaranteed independence,” Forde, an A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament, told Village Voice News on Saturday.
Senior Counsel Forde said the most recent ‘case’ saw the Attorney General advising the President that his suspension of the entire Police Service Commission (PSC) was constitutional, when the facts of the matter indicate that the President acted outside of the Constitution.
On June 16, President Ali suspended the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Paul Slowe, CCH; and its Commissioners – Michael Somersall, CCH; Claire Alexis Jarvis, Vesta Adams and Clinton Conway – but in a letter dated June 28 their Legal Counsel Selwyn Pieters told the President that his decision contravenes the Constitution, in particular Article 225 (6), which sets out the conditions for the suspension and or removal of a Constitutional Officer from a Commission.
The President, Pieters submitted, did not follow the requisite steps, and the Commission will therefore proceed with its work. But the Attorney
General, in jumping to the defence of the President, said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government will not acknowledge the Commission and its work, or List of Police Promotions during the period of suspension.
Like Forde, Pieters accused the Attorney General, in this particular instance, of ill-advising the President. “Mr Nandlall knows what the law is, Mr Nandlall knows how the law is applied and he cannot give the President advice to violate the Constitution; that is why Rudy Giuliani lost his license in New York; Judy Giuliani was giving the President of the United States bad advice, embarking on frivolous lawsuits in respect to the election in the United States,” Pieters told Dr. David Hinds during the online programme – Politics 101.
Forde told this newspaper that the Government not merely ignore the work of the Commission but it should challenge its decision if it is confident that its actions are constitutional.
“I challenge the Attorney General to approach the Court to set aside the promotions made by the Police Service Commission if he is so confident that the members of the Police Service Commission were lawfully suspended by the installed President,” the Senior Counsel said.
In April, Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, while ruling that Sarah Browne and Vikash Ramkissoon were unlawfully appointed Parliamentary Secretaries in the National Assembly, said the Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, in an attempt to defend the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Candidates, found himself approbating and reprobating on a matter he had successfully argued in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.
Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, in challenging the appointments of Browne and Ramkissoon, had relied on the case – Attorney General v. Desmond Morian – in which both the High Court and Court of Appeal ruled that the then Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott and the Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix could not have sit in the House as Technocrat Ministers on the basis that they were listed on the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) List of Candidates.
Though Nandlall was the lead attorney representing Morian and had won the case at both the High Court and Court of Appeal, he found himself in a peculiar position, arguing against the very case.
“It does appear to me that Mr Nandlall is approbating and reprobating as he seeks to cherry pick which aspects of the Morian decision would advance his position,” the acting Chief Justice said as she handed down her judgment.
For Senior Counsel Forde, Nandlall has been duplicitous. “The Attorney General has simply demonstrated a hypocritical approach to the issues decided upon in these cases. The Attorney General is shameless. He ought to have conceded that the cases applied to facts which were essentially identical. The Chief Justice in the Parliamentary Secretaries case pointed out that the Attorney General was approbating and reprobating in his positions,” Forde told this newspaper.