Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo says that President David Granger’s issuance of a “Grant of Respite” to save Finance Minister Winston Jordan from facing jail time sends a bad signal to investors.
The President yesterday used his executive powers to nullify – until all avenues have been exhausted – the Contempt of Court Order made against the Minister of Finance Winston Jordan for failing to pay US$2.2M to Dipcon Engineering Services Limited.
Jagdeo took to his Facebook page to criticise the move. He said that Granger over the past four years has been “slow and aloof” in dealing with matters of policy and dealing with evidence of corrupting. However, the same was not exhibited when the order was issued by the Head of State to the court. According to Jagdeo, the president moved “with lightning speed to thwart a court order and pardon Winston Jordan”.
“Had he demonstrated similar speed and diligence with regards to the DDL [Demerara Distillers Limited] tax settlement he could’ve averted what will amount to $80 Billion in liabilities that will have to be borne by taxpayers.”
He noted that the President’s move sends a signal that “contracts can be broken at will”.
“[Yesterday’s] action, therefore, sends a signal that contracts can be broken at will, orders of the court against the state, even in commercial disputes, can be ignored at will, and that the executive powers of the President can be invoked to protect those in his inner circle who are the violators,” Jagdeo continued.
Yesterday, Granger granted to Jordan, “…in his personal capacity and as the Honourable Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament, respite of the execution of punishment imposed on him by an order for Criminal Contempt of Court on the 24th day of June, 2019 to the effect that, should he fail by the 8th day of July 2019 to comply with the Order of the Court, that the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana pay the sum of US 2.2 million dollars to Dipcon Engineering Services Limited, he shall be imprisoned for twenty (21) days.”