AG asks CCJ to rule not for legal reasons but expediency
…says “unrest” might follow adverse ruling against Govt
Attorney General of Guyana, Basil Williams has asked that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) confirm the decision of Guyana’s Court of Appeal in relation to the question of the votes being required for the validity of the passage of the No-Confidence Motion to be 34 votes in the National Assembly as against 33.
In his submissions to the court on Thursday, he also reiterated that “the principle is, the majority cannot be the same for simple and in absolute”. In this argument, the coalition Government presented that given the fact that there is no half human or half vote, one had to be added to make it 34 for an absolute rather than a simple majority in Guyana’s 65-member Parliament.
This argument was first proffered by Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, the husband of sitting Government Minister, Cathy Hughes, following the passage of the No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018. Since then, Government has held on to the notion and moved to the courts to offer validity to the view.
“The provisions in Section 106 (7) and 106 (7) of Guyana’s Constitution have dire consequences, catastrophic consequences, for Government. If successful, the motion could lead to the premature fall of the Government and possibly the premature disillusion of the National Assembly,” Williams told the Court in his submissions.
He stated that the move by former AFC parliamentarian, Charandass Persaud, to vote in favour of an Opposition tabled No-Confidence Motion on December 21, last, is an “act of treachery” alluding to the fact that the coalition Government had only entered office for some three and a half years before this and that the former Member of Parliament’s vote should not be seen as valid given the arguments put forward by other attorneys representing the Government of Guyana.
In relation to elections being held in Guyana, the AG noted that in previous years, the country’s history has seen some unrest and aftermaths. He said that this could be repeated if an election is held in Guyana without the proper steps in place.
“That is the difficulty that we have. And which the Court, we are asking to take judicial notice of, that around elections if the list is not right, if there is a perception of people multiple voting, phantoms etc, and the list is not a credible list, it is going to be difficult and that is the history of Guyana.”
AG Williams added that the second highest court in the land had already spoken on this issue and, therefore, urged that the CCJ rule in that light as well.
The Court of Appeal, in March, last, had ruled in a 2-1 split decision, that a majority of 34 votes would have been needed to validly pass a motion brought against the Government.