Opposition and Government over the Budget Cuts.
If at first you don’t succeed try try again and that may be the mantra of the Minority PPPC Government in an attempt to use the courts to regain what it has lost in the legislature. This morning a battery of lawyers appeared for the Government and the opposition. The case is essentially for the Court to pronounce on the Budget Cuts. The Attorney General summarized the Administration’s position claiming that the Majority in the Legislature could only approve not amend a Budget brought by the Minister of Finance.
The majority in the house sees the case differently. AFC MP Khemraj Ramjattan has made it clear that as far as his party is concerned it is an abuse of power by the ruling PPP/C Administration.
In fact the Speaker has pronounced that the High Court action brings into question, and possible derision, the very constitutional pillars upon which our democracy is founded, as it strangely asserts that the timeless, sacred and sacrosanct function of the National Assembly to approve public spending is only perfunctory. Attorney Deborah Backer from the Majority side of the House explained what the procedures will be for this case.
The PPPC minority government on Monday filed an ex-parte action in court challenging the Budget Cuts quoting several sections of the Guyana Constitution. Even the Minister of Finance is cited as a defendant. The Government through the HPS Roger Forbes Luncheon is essentially arguing that under the so called Forbes Burnham 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.