The Government and the Opposition should immediately demonstrate good faith in honouring the judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was ordered on Tuesday, June 18. Saying you respect the court’s ruling but defying the order is not showing good faith or honouring the rulings. Saying elections can’t be held before November or waiting on the advice of the GECOM Chair (to hold elections) is not showing good faith. The GECOM Chair is illegally appointed; his advice is null and void.
The Constitution allows a No-Confidence Motion and elections within ninety days of its passage. It, therefore, means that GECOM must always be prepared to hold elections because the Government can fall anytime and elections held within the required ninety days. Other Caricom territories are permanently prepared for elections, and in those countries, a maximum six weeks notification is required to hold elections. Some countries require only three or four weeks notice to hold elections.
Guyana’s Constitution requires ongoing registration of anyone over 14 and upon attaining 18 years of age their names are extracted and added to the voters’ list. So all eligible voters would have been on the list. Elections were held last November and the list was good. Some six months later, the list can’t be that defective (bad) not to hold elections. Any eligible voter whose name is not on the list can simply have it added to the registrar. This does not take eleven months (December to November). Additions and deletions can be done in eleven days. That still leaves 79 days to hold an election.
The other ruling is to replace James Patterson as GECOM Chair. Any judge or individual worth his name would resign after a country’s final court rules that he unlawfully occupies the post. Patterson should do the honourable thing. The President should immediately ask the Opposition Leader for a list of six nominees and appoint one forthwith to be Chair of GECOM. It is the right thing to do and in so doing would honour the CCJ’s rulings. Failure to do so would defy the court.
On a separate note, people in the diaspora are ridiculing Guyanese judges saying they don’t know how to read (can’t comprehend what they read) or calculate a simple majority. They suggest that all current and prospective judges receive basic math and English lessons that kindergartners receive – on what is a majority and on mastering what they read.