Despite no-confidence motion
With the possibility of general elections drawing nearer, President David Granger has signalled that his Administration is still hoping to complete their full term in office.
In 2015, the coalition Administration took office, indicating that elections would be hosted in 2020. However, in December 21, 2019, a No-confidence Motion was tabled and passed in the National Assembly, tumbling the Government. Since then, the Government moved to the courts to challenge the validity of the motion, saying a 34 majority is needed for it to be successfully passed.
On Wednesday, President David Granger, said the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) is hoping to complete a full term in office, a decision which lies with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
“I know there have been challenges but we would like to complete our term depending on what GECOM tells us,” he stated.
The President’s statement came as a surprise to many, as GECOM’s elections readiness itself has been called into question and has since also engaged the attention of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Acting Chief Justice Roxane George, in January, upheld the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-confidence Motion, ruling that in Guyana’s 65-member National Assembly, a majority is 33. This, however, was appealed by Attorney General Basil Williams.
At the Court of Appeal, while Justice Rishi Persaud had dismissed the appeal and concurred with the ruling of the High Court, his colleague appellate Judges allowed the State’s appeal.
Both Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Dawn Gregory opined that while 33 was the majority of the 65-member National Assembly, the successful passage of a No-confidence Motion required an “absolute majority” of 34 and not the “simple” 33 majority that has been used to pass ordinary business in the House.
Following the ruling, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo stated that the Constitution of Guyana is pellucid on what number of votes is needed for the passage of a no-confidence motion; it is a majority of all elected parliamentarians – the majority of 65 is 33 votes.
The Opposition has since moved to the CCJ, which recently heard the case. The three No-confidence Motion cases deal with Christopher Ram v the Attorney General of Guyana, the Leader of the Opposition and Joseph Harmon; Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo v the Attorney General of Guyana, Dr Barton Scotland and Joseph Harmon; and Charrandas Persaud v Compton Herbert Reid, Dr Barton Scotland, Bharrat Jagdeo and Joseph Harmon.
On December 21, 2018, AFC Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud voted in favour of the No-confidence Motion against the Government, during the debate on this matter, held in the National Assembly.
Since the December 21, 2018 passage of the motion of no- confidence against the APNU/AFC coalition, calls have been made by various stakeholders, including foreign diplomats here, for the Government to abide by the Constitution and set a date for elections.