President Donald Ramotar refuses to assent to Bills passed
It was the Attorney General Anil Nandlall who once more brought the matter of the President’s non-assent of Bills to the fore during his contribution to the 2014 Budget debate.
Article 170 (2) of the Constitution provides for the President to assent or withhold his assent to Bills passed in the National Assembly, and if he chooses to withold his assent he is to return the Bill to the National Assembly within 21 days with a message stating the reason why he has witheld assent.
Opposition front-bencher Basil Williams did not agree with the arguments put forward by Nandlall, especially over the fact that the Attorney General is the one who has been advising the President that the Bills are unconstitutional.
Williams argued that when Bills are passed in the House they should go to the Presidnet and not to Nandlall’s chamber’s for him to offer an opinion, since any oppoion the Attorney General would have is what he says during the debate before Bills are passed.
The Attorney General maintained that the argument that the President or the Attorney General has no power and authority to say that a Bill is unconstitutional, is infantile, since everyday lawyers interpret the law and the constitution and advise their clients.