Guyanese Gov’t negotiating multimillion-dollar lawsuits

Friday, August 19, 2016

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Government of Guyana says it is negotiating a payment settlement with the Trinidad-based NH International after it accused the former administration of providing poor defences resulting in billions of dollars in judgements.
“What we have found with these cases that we have inherited is that when you actually look at the cases, little or no effort was put in to defend and represent the State in these cases,” said Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams.
He said the David Granger administration is in the process of paying out to the Suriname-based RUDISA Beverages, a significant sum of money after negotiating a reduction in the awarded sum.
The beverage company was awarded US$7.72 million by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2014 after it challenged the environmental taxes levied against it by the previous administration. Williams said that the government had since negotiated a cost of US$6.22 million and that Cabinet has authorised the method of negotiating reduction in the judgements it has inherited.
Williams explained that negotiations are under way in the Trinidad-based NH International over the GUY$2.8 billion judgement which was awarded to the construction company by the CCJ last year.
The lawsuit was brought against the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration following contractual disputes in 2007.
Williams said that the cost in the NH International judgement “ought not to have ballooned into such a large amount if proper judgement had been exercised in the matter; they had no case”.
In relation to other cases, Williams noted that an application for an extension of time in the Dipcon Engineering Services Limited ruling is pending in the Court of Appeal.
Last year, Dipcon Engineering Services Limited brought a lawsuit against the previous administration over outstanding payments and Williams said that his chambers were unaware of this case when it took over the Legal Affairs Ministry.
“Apparently Mr (Anil) Nandlall, the former attorney general farmed the matter out to a private practitioner,” said Williams, adding that the government “will vigorously defend” cases against the State that it has inherited.
He insisted that these large judgements were a “burden on this nation, it’s a burden on the taxpayers, and the people of this nation, and this government.
“The PPP must hold full responsibility for all those cases with the large judgements that were racked up,” Williams said.

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