Home Top Stories Govt refuses to accept CJ’s decision in no-confidence cases
…moves to Court of Appeal
By Jarryl Bryan
The Government has appealed the no-confidence related cases it lost on January 31, asking the Court of Appeal to set aside some of the judgements made by acting Chief Justice Roxane George.
The first case Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams is appealing is the case of AG v Speaker of the National Assembly and Opposition Leader. The second is AG v Christopher Ram.
The initial case directly pertains to the passage of the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly by a majority of 33 to 32 on December 21, 2018. In the case of AG v Speaker of the National Assembly and Opposition Leader, Williams’s submission argues that “there was a miscalculation of the majority of all elected members as required under Article 106 (6) of the Constitution for the Government to be defeated on a vote of no confidence”.
The Government’s submission had claimed that acquiring 33 instead of 34 or more votes breached Article 106 (6) of the Constitution and was unlawful. It had also claimed that the Speaker’s certification of the vote by issuing Resolution 101 was not conclusive.
In the second case, Ram had argued that Cabinet should have resigned as per the Constitution. Ram had successfully sought to have the High Court validate the no-confidence resolution and have Government comply with constitutional provisions to demit office and call elections no later than March of this year.
Ram has also argued that Cabinet’s failure to resign with all convenient speed and to fix an election date could lead to uncertainty and a constitutional crisis if neither occurs in keeping with the Constitution.
The Chief Justice had upheld both cases, ruling that the no-confidence vote was validly passed, and that Cabinet should have resigned. However, Williams in his appeal is claiming that the Chief Justice made an error in both of these rulings.
Particularly, the AG expressed that the Chief Justice’s decision was “unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence”. He is seeking an order setting aside both rulings and all consequential orders, adding that more submissions will be made upon receipt of the CJ’s written ruling.
The appeal comes at a time when local and international organisations have been calling for a speedy resolution to these legal matters.
President David Granger and the Government as a whole have said they will not resign while these legal cases are pending. On Monday, the European Union called for the appeals to be expedited in much the same way as the Chief Justice expedited the initial case.
The EU’s local mission revealed that it was keeping an eye on developments following the vote. The EU urged that democratic procedures and the rule of law be respected and upheld.
The EU also called for free and fair elections to be held and for the Guyana Government to follow all requirements outlined in the Constitution of Guyana following the December 21, 2018 no-confidence vote.
Government has always said it would appeal the rulings if not favourable. According to the EU, it is best if these appeals are expedited, hinting that foreign investments into Guyana are being held up by the political uncertainty.
The EU’s urging came shortly after United Nations Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka urged the Government to demonstrate its integrity and respect Guyana’s Constitution.
According to Tanaka, building a peaceful and just society requires respect for the rule of law and confidence in national institutions. “It is hoped that the third arm of the State, the Executive, will demonstrate its integrity and respect for Guyana’s Constitution and the Judiciary that constitute the foundation for the rule of law,” Tanaka added.
She also noted that upcoming General and Regional Elections would be a big test for Guyana, considering the atmosphere of mistrust that permeated previous elections. She noted that the need for political parties to be responsible was absolutely critical for bringing an end to racial inequality.