Basil Williams creating fear with “unrest” prediction
…wants to delay elections but could be self-fulfilling
In light of a recent statement by Attorney General Basil Williams about “unrest” which might follow if the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules against the Government with regards to the validity of the No-Confidence Motion, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Boyer believes that the comment was a “dangerous one” and is seen as a tool to prevent the Government from going to the polls sooner rather than later.
Boyer on Sunday related that the AG should be more cautious about using sentiments that are attributed to riot or other forms of unrest during an election period.
“Some might say it could be self-fulfilling prophecies…Guyana has come a long way as a democracy and I don’t think the younger generations expect or will participate in elections violence, I think the younger generations if they feel a need to, will peacefully protest. I think that the AG is trying to create fear using that as a weak means of supporting their claims of why elections should be further delayed,” he stated.
According to the GCCI President, the proprietors and staff of businesses in Guyana have not forgotten the physical destruction and crimes that occurred during some elections in previous years while noting that in today’s society, it is not expected that there will be such a repeat.
“[Businesses] are expecting that as a democracy we have moved past riots. International investors will be looking on and I feel that the older heads who were the generations that rioted will have to be mindful and choose to change their modus operandi. If they want to see a new and better Guyana that we all look forward to.”
On Thursday last, the AG had asked that the 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.
“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.
In relation to elections being held in Guyana, the AG noted that 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.