Evidence taken by the Rodney COI on June 23 is beyond any legal challenge

Dear Editor,

I feel compelled to respond to the allegations made by Mr Basil Williams, MP, attorney-at-law, published in a letter in the Stabroek News of July 2, 2014 (‘Government backdated Gazette to validate Rodney COI proceedings of June 23’). My first observation is that the letter, though purportedly written by Mr Williams, refers to him in the third person. Perhaps this is Mr Williams’ new and unique manner of expression.

That aside, the allegations contained in that letter are not only vexatious, outrageous and sinister but they are obviously calculated to undermine the integrity of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. This is not surprising. It has been the agenda of Mr Williams and his party even before the commission was established. I can only surmise that they realized that they would not be able to deal with the evidence that was likely to emerge and in fact is emerging from the

commission. From the outset, they attacked the Terms of Reference. That failed. They next challenged the integrity of Commissioner Seenath Jairam, SC. That failed. Then they attacked the integrity of the Chairman Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC. That failed. They next attacked the procedure employed by the commission and the quality of evidence adduced. That also failed. These new allegations by Mr Williams are obviously their next line of attack. This will also fail.

The contention this time is that the extension of the life of the commission is improper and unlawful. In that contention, Mr Williams is hopelessly wrong. Two simple points will establish this.

(1) On June, 23, 2014, before the commencement of the third sitting of the commission, the President sent a letter to the Chairman extending the life of the commission until September 30, 2014. This notification was published in the Official Gazette in an extraordinary publication dated June 24, 2014 which stated that it was effective from June 23, 2014. The Commissions of Inquiry Act, Chapter 19:03 by virtue of Section 3 gives the President the power to alter a Commission of Inquiry established under that Act.

Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Chapter 19:03 provides thus:

“In case any commissioner shall be or become unable or unwilling to act, or shall die, the President may appoint another commissioner in his place; and any commission issued under this Act may be altered as the President may deem fit by any subsequent commission issued by the President or may be revoked altogether by a notification to that effect published in the Gazette”

It was, therefore, well within the power of the President to include in the publication that the extension was to be effective from June, 23, 2014.

(2)   Section 21 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act, Chapter 2:01 gives the President the power to publish subsidiary legislation, such as, the notification for extension and for it to have retrospective operation. What this means, is that it can come into operation before the date of publication in the Official Gazette.

Section 21 (2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act, Chapter 2:01 states:

“Statutory Legislation other than those specified in subsection (1) need not be published unless expressly required by the Act conferring power to make them, and, whether published or not, such instruments shall come into operation at the time of their making or at such other time as may be specified therein.”

The evidence taken by the commission on June, 23, 2014, is therefore beyond any legal challenge. A simple reading of the relevant sections of the Commissions of Inquiry Act and the Interpretation and General Clauses Act would have saved Mr Williams from much embarrassment.

It is my considered view that the forum used by Mr Williams, that is, the letter column of the newspaper rather than making those very objections before the commission itself, leads me to the ineluctable conclusion that Mr Williams not only intends to mislead the public but also to disparage the integrity of the commission.

Yours faithfully,

Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP

Attorney-General and

Minister of Legal Affairs

More in Letters

default placeholder

What is the relevance of race? We are all Guyanese

Dear Editor, After 50 years of independence ‘race’ seems as much a divisive construct as it ever was. Whatever political currency race held has been lost, evident in the underdevelopment of our nation these many years later.

default placeholder

This is our opportunity to shine

Dear Editor, Thank you for publishing my last letter on the subject of the Venezuelan refugees. Since then, I have seen Freddie Kissoon pick up the issue and Minister Harmon’s comments on it on TV and as reported in the Chronicle.

default placeholder

Guyana needs a Local Content Law

Dear Editor, Oil has been found in Guyana and optimistically production will begin in 2020. This offers Guyana the incredible opportunity of leapfrogging beyond the annual incremental 3-5 % economic growth to annual growth rates in the double digit range.

default placeholder

The Indigenous people and their land have been highlighted so politicians can become famous

Dear Editor, It’s with interest I read in the news these days about the leaders in Guyana playing the environmental card to the world.

default placeholder

Cancer is one of the greatest public health threats of the 21st century

Dear Editor, First I wish to applaud Mr Annan Boodram for his excellent and timely letter on alcohol and some of its major effects on this society, and the issue of alcohol in our culture.

default placeholder

There should be an investigation into why Thelma Rebeiro of Shulinab has not regained consciousness after four months

Dear Editor, The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG) is calling on the Guyana Medical Council (GMC) to conduct an urgent investigation to determine the reason or reasons why patient Thelma Rebeiro of Shulinab Village, south central Rupununi, Region 9 to date has not regained consciousness after four months following two surgeries for gallstones.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: