Basil Wil­liams blasts Caribbean Court of Ap­peal

Weekend Mirror - - CHILDREN’S CORNER -

At­tor­ney

Gen­eral and Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs, Basil Wil­liams has blasted slammed the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice- Guyana’s fi­nal ap­peal court- for strik­ing out an ap­peal by him. CCJ Pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Den­nis By­ron has dis­missed the re­quest to hear an ap­peal against the Trinidad-based com­pany, DIPCON En­gi­neer­ing, and has awarded costs to the com­pany amount­ing to US$2.5 mil­lion.

How­ever, Wil­liams said Guyana’s new Civil Pro­ce­dure Rules per­mit the grant­ing of leave be­yond the dead­line for an ap­peal to be heard in spe­cial cir­cum­stances. “The Court is con­cerned about the in­ter­est of jus­tice. The over­rid­ing ob­jec­tive in such cases un­der the new rules is to de­ter­mine the is­sues be­tween the par­ties and so that no tech­ni­cal­i­ties is to try to de­ter­mine the is­sues be­tween the two par­ties and so no tech­ni­cal­ity ought to come be­tween the court and the lit­i­gants to pre­vent the court from go­ing to the real sub­ject mat­ter,” he told re­porters.

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral said the APNU+AFC coali­tion in­her­ited the case in­volv­ing DIPCON from the pre­vi­ous PPP-C govern­ment, and he at­trib­uted the de­lay to no no­tice hav­ing been given to the govern­ment un­til the pe­riod al­lot­ted un­der the rules had ex­pired.

Again, he con­tended that there was no ev­i­dence of the file in the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Cham­bers about the case in­volv­ing GYD$400 mil­lion. He said he has es­tab­lished a prece­dent in Guyana’s Court of Ap­peal to ap­ply for an ex­ten­sion of time to file an ap­peal out of time.

“That clearly shows the pro­ce­dure that if the Court of Ap­peal knocks you down here, you go back to the Court of Ap­peal for spe­cial leave to ap­peal to the CCJ… I’m con­fused that the CCJthe high­est level- would not recog­nise that this is a mat­ter in the pub­lic in­ter­est, this is a case in­volv­ing funds from the IDB ( In­ter- Amer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank) and a claim that these peo­ple were en­ti­tled to these funds but these funds could only be made payable with the con­sent of the IDB,” he said.

In fur­ther dis­agree­ing with the CCJ’s de­ci­sion to throw out the ap­peal, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral ar­gued that even if the ap­pel­lant could not jus­tify a late ap­peal, the bot­tom line is that “if you have an ar­guable case, if your case has mer­its, then the court is en­joined to look at the case.”

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral said DIPCON was not en­ti­tled to the monies be­cause ad­di­tions to the con­tract could not have been ap­proved be­cause it was for a fixed term.

Mean­while the At­tor­ney Gen­eral said the Guyana Po­lice Force’s Spe­cial Or­gan­ised Crime Unit would be prob­ing the sit­u­a­tion with those cases in which lawyers who were hired to ar­gue for the State ended up ar­gu­ing for the com­pany.

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