Queens Counsel Sir Gerald Watt says the governor general, on his own, cannot call a commission of inquiry into the so called Odebrecht scandal.
“In the exercise of his function, the governor general shall act in accordance on the advice of the cabinet or a minister acting under the general authority of the cabinet,” he said quoting sections of the constitution.
Sir Gerald told a Rotary Club of Antigua luncheon, that the section of the law on which the opposition relied in requesting the inquiry is simply not applicable today.
“So when the constitution came into being, all those executive powers which were exercised by the Governor General cannot be exercised (today).”
Sir Gerald said “the law that is second in time takes precedence over the first, because as you go along and pass laws you are going to find that some laws that come after contradicts laws that came before. The one that is correct is the most recent.”
The QC argued that those calling for an injury were looking at the law in isolation while ignoring the “totality of the legislation.”
Earlier this month, the opposition called for the probe after it was alleged that Antiguan government officials received bribe money for their involvement in the Brazilian-rooted Odebrecht scandal.
In what has been described as the “World’s biggest bribery ring”, payoffs were reportedly made to presidents and high-level officials in 12 countries including Antigua & Barbuda.
The Latin American construction firm is accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to individuals in order to win lucrative infrastructural contracts and in exchange for a promise not to provide international authorities with banking records revealing these illicit payments.
The governor general has written to the opposition turning down their request for an investigation.