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On October 4, the High Court is expected to hand down its judgment in a constitutional matter brought by Opposition Member of Parliament Ganesh Mahipaul challenging the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.
Together with MP Mahipaul, the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Coretta McDonald; the First Vice President of the Guyana Public Service Union, Dawn Gardener; Chairman of the Public Service Commission; Michael Somersall; Member of the Police Service Commission, Clinton Conway; and Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission, Allan Munroe are seeking a number of declarations pertaining to the independence of the constitutional organs and the allocation of resources.
Among the reliefs being sought is a declaration that the Constitutional Agencies listed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution are to function independently, impartially and free from the exercise of any control by the Executive and or any other entity. Additionally, they want the Court to declare that the move to categorize constitutional agencies as budgetary agencies under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act is inconsistent with the independence assured to those constitutional agencies under the Constitution.
Aside from the substantive matter, the applicants, by way of a Notice of Application asked the High Court to grant a number of conservatory orders pending the hearing and determination of the Fixed Date Application (FDA), however, on March 5, 2021, Justice Naresh Harnanan refused to grant the conservatory orders.
Through their attorney, Roysdale Forde, S.C, the applicants filed a Notice of Appeal in the Full Court, however, the Full Court on Friday, September 10, 2021 dismissed the Notice of Appeal and Notice of Application for a number of the conservatory orders sought.
“Having heard the Attorneys-at-Law for the parties, the Honourable Justices Brassington Reynolds and Sandil Kissoon ordered and directed that the Notice of Appeal and Notice of Application be dismissed. Their Honours also ordered Costs against the Applicants/Appellants to be paid to the Attorney General, the Minister of Finance, the Judicial Service Commission and the Speaker and Clerk of the National Assembly in the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) each,” the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall explained in a statement.
Among the conservatory orders sought was an order directing the Minister of Finance and or the Senior Minister in the Office of the President not to present any Budget Submission for Constitutional Agencies listed in the Third Schedule of the Constitution and in the Schedule of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act cap. 73:02 by virtue of the Fiscal Management and Accountability, (Amendment) Act of 2021 to the National Assembly.
In a brief comment, Senior Counsel Forde explained that some of the orders sought were over taken by events, however, he noted that the substantive matter is set for October 4.