Christopher Ram petitions court to have Govt resign
…provides certified copy of no-confidence resolution
Charted Accountant and Attorney Christopher Ram has filed legal proceedings in the High Court to validate the recently passed no-confidence motion and have Government comply with constitutional provisions to demit office and call elections no later than March of this year.
This latest writ comes as Government continues to hold fast to its 34 majority argument as one of its justifications for not calling elections.
Ram, who filed the proceedings on Tuesday, is asking the court to declare that the President and the Cabinet resign in keeping with article 106 (6) of Guyana’s Constitution. With Attorney General Basil Williams and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo as the named respondents; Ram wants the December 21, 2018 No-confidence Motion declared by the court as properly valid and lawfully passed adding that Article 106 (6) requires Government to resign with “all convenient speed”.
The case further asks the court to declare that Government should remain in office until after the elected President takes the oath of office following elections in 90 days or an extended period as agreed by two-thirds of the National Assembly as 106 (7) requires.
Ram’s legal argument makes it clear that elections must be held no later than March 21 and he is further seeking the court to declare that the proceedings he filed be dealt with some urgency.
His grounds of appeal seeking relief under the Constitution state Government was defeated with 33 votes against 32; that Government should resign if defeated on a confidence vote; that 18 days have passed and Government has given no indication to resign nor has fixed a date for national and regional elections.
Further, the Cabinet’s failure to resign with all convenient speed and to fix an elections date could lead to uncertainty and constitutional crisis if neither of those occur in keeping with the Constitution by March 21, 2019, Ram argues.
As part of the evidence to support his case, he provided a certified copy of the no-confidence as provided by Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs. The attorney filed his writ through fellow Attorney Kamal Ramkarran who heads the Guyana Bar Association – a body which has already publically supported the validity of no-confidence motion.
It was only Monday that Government through Attorney General Basil Williams filed a case in the High Court to put on hold the enforcement of the no-confidence resolution. At the same time, Williams also applied for a conservatory order to allow for the Government to continue in office while the matter is being heard.
Consequently, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had made an application in the High Court to become a party to the proceedings brought by private citizen, Compton Reid, who is challenging the validity of the vote of now expelled Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud on the grounds that he falsely declared that he was a Guyanese citizen.
Jagdeo in his application argues that the case put forward by Reid is aimed at nullifying the No-confidence Motion and to prevent the law from taking its course through the provisions outlined in the Constitution. He also pointed to political issues that could have “far-reaching implications for national democracy, peace, order and good governance in Guyana.” As such, he feels that by filling legal action, it will help to diminish a possibility of this ever occurring again.
Jagdeo’s consolidation into those proceedings will come up on January 15. He is however expected to meet with President David Granger today, ahead of the court case.
In the fixed date application filed by Williams, which is another matter related to the confidence vote, the Attorney General sought relief under the Constitution by way of petitioning the court to rule on whether the Speaker’s decision on the December 21, 2018 motion was indeed carried by a majority of all elected members and whether or not the count of 33 to 32 breakdown means it was validly passed. This is in direct opposition to what Ram wants to have the court declare.
In the Attorney General’s petition, he argued that the current total elected members of the National Assembly are 65 members and the majority of members legally prescribed by Article 106 (6) of the Constitution is tantamount to an absolute majority that legally requires a vote of 34 or more. This matter will also be heard on January 15.