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Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC is not happy with the Government being taken to court. He referred to these cases as “frivolous litigation.”
During the sitting of the National Assembly on Monday, while a supplementary provision of GY$100 million was being considered for his ministry, the AG announced that the Government has to find legal fees of US$3 million to defend Guyana in the parking meter lawsuit.
January last the New Mexico Smart City Solutions (SCS) slapped Guyana with a $US$100 million lawsuit over the termination of the parking meters project. When the lawsuit was announced the AG said the government has retained Washington, USA-based law firm, Foley Hoag and Associates to lead a team from the Attorney General Chambers to defend the proceedings.
The project came to Guyana in 2016. From inception the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was against it. In 2018, then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo at a press conference on March 28, empathically expressed the Party’s continued non-support. “The PPP is opposed to the parking meter contract, period! Any manifestation of its return we will oppose.” Jagdeo has also called for the government’s resignation over the project.
The project was met with loud rejection from cross sections in society and not devoid of overt and covert politicisation and interest. Responding to resistance, efforts were made by the then A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), along with the City Council and SCS to work out modalities, including providing for wider consultations. These efforts failed and the company eventually left.
The AG is also bemoaning the Opposition taking the Government to court over issues of establishing constitutional commissions and appointments of these commissioners, likewise the acting Commissioner of Police. The Opposition is contending these acts violate the constitutional requirement of “consultation’ and “meaningful consultation” with the Leader of the Opposition as stipulated in the Constitution.
Guyana’s law safeguards the right of everyone within its jurisdiction to approach the court for justice. This is a pinnacle element of democratic governance.