Attorneys for the opposition parties are preparing a vigorous defense against ruling PPP/C.
Attorneys for the opposition parties are preparing a vigorous defense of what some of them feel is a frivolous challenge by the ruling PPP/C Administration. The PPPC government yesterday filed an ex-parte action in court challenging the Budget Cuts. The Government is essentially arguing that under the Constitution specifically Article 218 the National Assembly has the power to approve the National Budget but not to attach, what is tantamount to, a line item veto to it. Basically, the Government wants the court to declare that the National Assembly has to either approve or disapprove of the whole Budget not parts thereof.
The Government is insisting that the reduction in the Budget Allocations shall affect the work of the President and that too would be unconstitutional under the same so called Burnham Constitution that the PPP at one time wanted to repeal. The Administration wants an order that would allow the Minister of Finance to draw from the Contingency Fund to continue the work of the Executive. The Government is relying on case law drawn from the Commonwealth Caribbean and elsewhere to support its contentions.
The Opposition that has a majority in the National Assembly reduced some budget agencies and some departments to one dollar. The Government has vehemently condemned the move to effectively close down some agencies/departments or rein in expenditure. The opposition parties in the national assembly used their majority in an effort to call on the government to be more accountable and for the work of some government agencies and government funded programs to be revisited.
The Attorney General Anil Nandalall confirmed that the Government took the challenge to the court and indicated that all the parties named, including the leaders of the opposition parties in Parties, will have to appear for an initial hearing on Thursday Morning.