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Mace case: The challenge to this Act is completely without basis – AG to court

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, is contending that the challenge to the Natural Resources Fund Act by Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones and trade unionist Norris Witter is entirely without basis and lacks merit.

During the case management on Friday before Justice Navindra Singh in the High Court, AG asked for the matter to be struck out.

Jones and Witter had approached the court challenging the validity of the Natural Resource Fund Act, which the National Assembly passed in December 2021.

“We pointed out that the grounds upon which the challenge is being made are grounds that are unknown to the law,” the AG said while noting that the challenge is also an abuse of the court.

Among the grounds upon which the Act is being challenged is that there was no consultation prior to the passage of the legislation. But Nandlall argued that Parliament’s legislative power is not subject to any requirement that there must be a consultation.

“Parliament has a law-making power, and it is subject to one conditionality that the law must be consistent with the Constitution. We are contending that Article 13 is aspirational justiciable.”

To this end, the Minister said that if consultation is a requirement, then the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration would have widely consulted between 2015 to 2020 on the Natural Resource Fund law while in Opposition.

In fact, he added that the manifesto on which the PPP/C campaigned on spoke of a Natural Resource Fund law.

During the passage of the Natural Resource Fund Bill, Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) were seen blowing whistles and chanting loudly, "no thieving bill must pass," and even stole the speaker’s mace.

The Privileges Committee of the National Assembly has been given up to June 1 to submit its report on what sanctions, if any, should be taken against the eight members who participated in grabbing the mace.


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