In the presence of about a 1000 supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, on Sunday, President David Granger reiterated that he will not resign and that the Government will remain in office as the no-confidence resolution is being appealed.
In fact, he told the gathering that his Government will exhaust all avenues and aspects of the law, while adding that there is no ‘caretaker government’. Granger said he will remain President until the next President is sworn in, as he grinned “I don’t know how they gon wuk that one out”.
In addition, the President noted that Parliament has not been dissolved and that the National Assembly will continue to do the work is was duly elected to carry out.
This comes on the heels of the ruling by acting Chief Justice Roxane George who stated that the December 31, 2018 No-confidence Motion was validly passed in the National Assembly and Government has to resign in keeping with constitutional provisions of Article 106 and 106 (7) respectively.
She was at the time addressing the other case filed on behalf of the Government by Attorney General Basil Williams that sought to put a hold on the enforcement of the motion since he was contending whether the said motion was indeed carried by a majority of all elected members and whether or not the 33 to 32 breakdown means it was validly passed.
According to the acting Chief Justice, the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland found that motion was carried by majority of 33-32. She noted that the validity of motion was not doubted when it was carried on December 21.
Moreover, she noted that when concerns were raised subsequently after and advanced before Speaker Scotland, he stood by the carried motion and digressed to the court for interpretation.
The CJ, however, outlined that the President and the Ministers cannot remain in Government beyond three months in accordance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) respectively.
Article 106 (6) states that “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
Meanwhile, 106 (7) goes on to state that, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly agrees by not less than two thirds of all members.
However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo welcomed the ruling by acting Chief Justice Roxane George saying this now paves the way for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to start preparation for the hosting of General and Regional Elections – constitutionally due in March.
According to the Opposition Leader, now that the Chief Justice has upheld the validity of the no-confidence resolution, and refuses to a stay the judgement as well as to refuse to issue a conservatory order for the Government to remain in office upon request of the Attorney General, focus must be placed on the elections body.
“… the timeline remains valid and the clock keeps ticking… So now we need to turn our attention to GECOM and force GECOM to act in accordance with the Constitution. And so in the next couple of days, even if it means legal action to force GECOM to start the preparations for elections,” he stated.
According to Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, Government should call elections within three months of the passage of a no-confidence motion. This means elections are to be held by March 19 and insisted that the Elections Commission can be ready for polls within the next 50 days or so.