Nandlall calls on AG, Justice Patterson to resign

first_img– points to flagrant violation of ConstitutionOpposition Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall is calling on Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams and Retired Justice James Patterson to resign their posts, pointing to a situation where both men knew that they were in clear violation of the Constitution.Nandlall, a former Attorney General himself, pointed to Article 161 (1) of the Constitution which states that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman should not be engaged in any other form of employment. However, Patterson continues to be an adviser to the Minister.This was brought to light on December 12, in the Committee of Supply, when Nandlall questioned the Minister and he disclosed that Patterson, the Chairman of GECOM, continued to be one of his five advisers who were being paid by the Legal Affairs Ministry and would continue to be paid in 2018.“The public would note that this disclosure comes from no other than the principal legal adviser of the Government of Guyana and it was made publicly and forms part of the public record of the National Assembly,” the Opposition MP observed while stressing the illegality of that move.Nandlall argued that based on this admission, the GECOM Chairman was currently in flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Attorney General himself was complicit in that violation by continuing to employ Patterson and budget for his continuing employment.“The fact that the very person is also the Attorney General of the country and is so “blissfully unaware” of the gravity of numerous violations committed that he discloses the information with seamless ease is by itself a scandal of gigantic proportion. Both Justice Patterson and the Attorney General should resign!”The AG compounded the issue by disclosing that in light of Justice Patterson’s recent appointment as the GECOM Chairman, he was not sure whether he (Patterson) would continue to be part of his advisory team. Nandlall said it has not dawned upon the AG that the GECOM chairmanship was constitutionally a full-time position.The Opposition MP said, “I wonder whom the President (David Granger) will now blame for this: will it be those who advised the Government before May 2015, or the hapless staff at the AG’s Chambers, who continue to be blamed daily for the incompetence which flows from the top?”Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil WilliamsFrom all indications, Nandlall said it may appear as if different members of the Government and those appointed by them were in competition with each other as to who would be most egregious in their violation of the Constitution and the rule of law, and who would generate the most sensational scandal.“It is common knowledge that the holder of the office of the Chairman of GECOM must be independent and impartial and a person of high integrity. The President rejected the names of 18 highly qualified and respected Guyanese as not possessing these qualities,” he recalled.Instead, President Granger unilaterally choose an octogenarian, whose suitability and appointment evoked unprecedented controversy and now are the subject of an ongoing legal challenge, and who continues to be in the remunerative employment of the Government in violation of the Constitution.“How can such a person ever inspire the confidence of the Guyanese electorate? How can the electorate perceive him to be fair and a person who is independent and impartial?Opposition parliamentarian and former Attorney General, Anil NandlallThe cogent links to a political party are already publicly disclosed; that very Party leader in Government appoints him to a critical independent and impartial constitutional institution, and he continues to serve that very Government several months after the appointment by being an adviser of a functionary of the Government who happens to be the Chairman of that political party,” Nandlall said.last_img read more