September 7, 2010
PM: I had nothing to do with Boundaries Commission meet

Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves is refuting claims made by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace that he summoned last Thursday’s meeting of the Boundaries Commission in an effort to circumvent the law or an injunction granted by the court.{{more}}

“All those statements made by the Opposition Leader, all of them are wrong,” Gonsalves told members of the media on Friday, September 3.

According to the Prime Minister, the August 24 ruling to extend the July 9 injunction which prohibits the publication of the Commission’s boundaries report of July 9 was in no way a ruling to prevent the Boundaries Commission from meeting.

“The injunction was not to stop the publication of any other order other than the one made by the Commission on the ninth of July,” Gonsalves explained.

“That’s what the NDP lawyers asked for and that is what they got, not that they (the Commission) can’t meet,” he continued.

Furthermore, Gonsalves made the point that the judge maintained that “the life of the Commission has not expired and it can only expire after their order or report is published in the Gazette.”

“So if the Commission is still alive and the judge says that it still alive, then you can’t stop the Commission from meeting,” Gonsalves contended.

He described as “absolute rubbish” the Opposition Leader’s claim that he directed the Commission to meet.

“I have nothing to do with that, all I did in the House was to give Parliament a report as is my duty as to what had transpired,” the Prime Minister explained.

He stated that it was now up to the Commission to follow the guidance of the judge and if anything was wrong, to put it right.

“How could you be against that?

“If the Commission studies the judgment and decides to pay attention to what the judge made and to have any correctives, that have nothing to do with Ralph Gonsalves,” he stated, adding that it was now a situation where the Commission was acting within its rights.

Gonsalves explained that Section 32 (8) of the Constitution states that the Commission may regulate its own procedure, and may, with the consent of the Prime Minister confer powers and impose duties on any public office or on any authority of the Government for the purpose of the discharge of its functions.

Outside of that “they (the Commission) do their work independently,” said the Prime Minister.

Gonsalves added that he does not have as much interaction with Arthur Williams, to whom it was upon his recommendation to the Governor General to make up the three member Boundaries Commission.

“So where are we now? The NDP say they are interested in having the work done in accordance with the law and that is what I want too.

“But the real problem is you can’t have inexperienced people trying to be involved in politics at the top and who don’t comprehend these complex issues,” Gonsalves said. (DD)