– 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.
HALIFAX – The new Canadian bank note honouring Viola Desmond had a satisfying surprise for many African-Nova Scotians: an unexpected shout-out to Halifax’s historic north end, home to one of Canada’s oldest black communities.“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Irvine Carvery, a prominent north ender who was thrilled to discover when the $10 bill was unveiled last week that it included a map of the community he has lived in his whole life.“I just think it’s a wonderful way to advertise the north end and the people that live in the north end.”The bill cements Desmond’s status as a civil rights icon for her refusal to leave the whites-only section of a movie theatre while visiting New Glasgow, N.S., in 1946.But behind her portrait, the bank note features a historic map of Halifax’s north end that pays tribute to another aspect of her pioneering legacy — her community and her entrepreneurship.The map includes the stretch of Gottingen Street, the north end’s main drag, where the beautician opened a salon as part of a business that would eventually expand into her own line of cosmetics and a beauty school, which allowed her to mentor black women from across the country.“This historic community in Halifax was where Viola Desmond lived and worked, and served as a source of invaluable support during her struggle for justice,” the Bank of Canada says in its materials on the new bank note.“This artistic rendering of a historic map shows the waterfront, Citadel and Gottingen Street, the thoroughfare where Vi’s Studio of Beauty Culture was located.”Sylvia Parris, CEO of the Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute, which advocates for education issues affecting African-Nova Scotians, said Desmond’s story is emblematic of the historic Halifax community’s strength, resiliency and self-sufficiency.“I think this is actually a way for the (north end) … to be seen as having its kind of own identity,” said Parris.“When people are looking at the money and kind of having a conversation … they can start to look more deeply into north-end Halifax and learn more about the community.”The north end was home to Africville, which was founded in the 1800s with many residents former slaves and black Loyalists. But residents were forced to relocate when the community was ordered razed by Halifax council in the late 1960s, and many moved into public housing elsewhere in the north end.Historically, the north end has been populated by black-owned businesses, Carvery said, but many of them shut down in the wake of the civil rights movement that Desmond helped spur as an unintended consequence of desegregation.“I would hope that (the bill) is going to inspire … young black entrepreneurs to take a look at that whole history of black business ownership and inspire them,” said Carvery, 65, a former chair of Halifax’s school board.He said the black community’s entrepreneurial history has particular resonance as the north end reckons with the forces of gentrification, which have transformed the neighbourhood in recent years with an influx of new business owners.The commercial shift has led some to call on new stores to hire longtime north-end residents, but Carvery said he hopes African-Nova Scotians will take after Desmond and start their own businesses so they can employ other members of the community.“I think (Desmond’s story) harkens back to a Gottingen Street that we’d all like to see again,” said Patty Cuttell-Busby, executive director of the North End Business Association. “One where there is lots of diversity in the businesses that are owned in the area.”Cuttell-Busby said she hopes Desmond’s role as a national ambassador for the north end will be a boon to businesses in the area, while also inspiring the next generation of black owners.But in addition to the bill’s empowering message, Carvery — who was among those forced to relocate from Africville — said he sees the monetary spotlight on the north end as a rebuke to a city that has long neglected the district, and at times, mistreated its black residents.The city offered a formal apology for Africville in 2010 as part of a multi-million-dollar settlement with former residents, but Carvery said the forced displacement still casts a long shadow over the black community’s relationship with municipal government.“For the north end to end up on the $10 bill is kind of like, ‘In your face,’” he said.