Shortly before the Caribbean Court of Justice began hearing the cases yesterday stemming from the no confidence motion of December 21, 2018, the following five members of Cabinet turned up to join the gallery:
Vice-President Sydney Allicock, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry, Minister of Social Cohesion Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Service Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and Minister of Business Haimraj Rajkumar.
We can only speculate on the basis of the composition of this party, but it is safe to say that none of the persons is in anyway ministerially connected with the cases nor is anyone of them legally trained. Accompanying them was Attorney-at-law Darren Wade, who is not part of the legal team of local and foreign lawyers representing the Government and the Guyana Elections Commission.
There is no apparent reason for any of the Ministers or Mr. Wade to be in Trinidad as a spectator of court proceedings that were live streamed and could have been accessible from any place in Guyana. One suggestion was a show of force to the Court or moral support for the Attorney General (AG), hardly a justification for their presence.
What is particularly troubling is not only that their trip to Trinidad would have been financed at taxpayers’ expense but that the decision to take them away from their Ministries could only have been made by the Cabinet led by the President. Responsible government requires that taxpayers’ money is properly spent and fully accounted for.
It is hoped that the AG and the Minister of Finance will give taxpayers a full account of the expenditure borne by them for the prosecution of these cases. So far, the AG has retained at least five Senior Counsel from abroad who command very high fees.