Govt initiates delaying tactics ahead of CCJ’s ruling

No-confidence motion case

…new evidence against Charrandas desperate – Datadin

Attorney-at-law Sanjeev Datadin has accused the APNU+AFC Coalition of misleading the public with the recent application it made to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) regarding the pending appeals on the no-confidence motion.
In an apparent move to further delay the court’s rulings on the appeals, the Government is now seeking to have introduced new evidence relating to former AFC Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud, he said.
However, in a statement late Friday night, Persaud’s attorney in the proceedings, Datadin, sought to clear the air on the application being sought by the Government.
“The application filed by the Attorney General is desperate. It is another ‘red herring’ designed to mislead the nation. The AG has deliberately and mischievously not disclosed the whole truth of the statement made by our client, Charrandas Persaud. The statement is sadly taken wholly out of context,” the attorney said in the statement.
According to Datadin, he would be filing a response with the CCJ immediately.
In an application filed by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay on behalf of Attorney General Basil Williams on Friday, the Trinidad-based regional court is being asked to, among other things, grant permission for the submission of new evidence that has recently become available to the AG.
According to the court application, the evidence “will probably have an important influence on the outcome of this appeal, and… is credible,” and as such, Government is seeking permission to make submissions on whether the new evidence should be admitted; and if admitted, the relevance of the new evidence to the outcome of the appeal.
The “new evidence” has to do with comments made by the former AFC MP Charrandas Persaud, who crossed over to vote in favour of the Opposition’s no confidence motion against the Coalition Government.
The application was filed on the grounds that, among other things, there was no direct evidence of whether Persaud knew that he was unqualified to be candidate and disqualified from sitting in the National Assembly.
Having heard oral submissions from the various parties in the consolidated appeals in two marathon sessions on May 9 and 10, the CCJ panel of judges is expected to deliver their ruling within the coming days. However, with this move by the Government, this process can further be delayed.
Much is hinging on whatever decision the court delivers, but the most crucial decision would be on the calculation of what constitutes a “majority” to give effect to Art 106 (6): “The President and the Cabinet shall resign if the Government is defeated by a vote of majority of all elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
Following the December 21, 2018 passage of the no confidence motion against the Government, the Coalition Government challenged the validity of the motion; and after failing to get the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, to reverse it, Government approached the High Court.
However, acting Chief Justice Roxane George in January upheld the passage of the motion, ruling that it was validly passed with the 33 majority. This decision was then appealed by Government at the Appeal Court, which in March ruled via a 2-1 majority that an absolute majority of 34 votes is needed to successfully pass the motion.
As a last resort, the CCJ is being asked to finally determine these matters.