Western nations call for compliance with Guyana’s Constitution
CCJ consequential orders
…PPP to engage diplomatic community
With the caretaker Government being called out to honour the Constitution of Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rulings, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has begun engaging the diplomatic community in order to bring Guyana’s constitutional crisis to their attention.
The Opposition Leader made this announcement during a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office on Monday. According to Jagdeo, he has already commenced discussions with representatives of the Caribbean Community.
Jagdeo met with Secretary General of Caricom, Erwin LaRoque and noted that these discussions will continue with the wider diplomatic bloc, representatives of which he plans to brief today.
“I just met with the Secretary General of Caricom…and I said to him that the regional institution has ruled. I would like to have the judgement sent to all the Heads of Government of the region. So they won’t get the spin from third parties. They are very capable persons; they will read the judgment.”
The Opposition Leader said that he is aware that the caretaker Government will frustrate the process and try to defy the judgement of the Court.
“We know now that APNU will frustrate and try to defy the judgement of the Court. Is [the international community] prepared to accept the judgement of the highest court? Because if they’re prepared to accept the ruling… then that will determine how they relate to this Government. They have to relate to the Government in a caretaker capacity and urge the Government to uphold the Constitution,” Jagdeo added.
Jagdeo also noted the implications if the Government continues to disregard the Constitution and the court ruling. He referenced the case Guyana has before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Venezuela, which has laid claim to a large section of the country.
He stated that the country is in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.
“We’re in a full-fledged constitutional crisis… by selectively interpreting and redefining and distorting what the Court said, it’s putting us at the risk that when we have a ruling at the ICJ and it’s in favour of Guyana, Venezuela could do the same thing….And we’d have no moral authority to argue that they must respect the decision of the ICJ. Because here we have a Government distorting and not respecting the decision of a regional court. They are exposing our country, but this doesn’t affect this cabal. They are there for one reason. Not for [the] country. They don’t care how we are viewed around the world.”
Jagdeo expressed a willingness, however, to write the ICJ in support of the Government’s position against Venezuela on the border controversy. Already, Venezuela has shown signs of not respecting the court’s authority in the matter.
Although the ICJ fixed April 18, 2019, as the date for Venezuela to submit a Counter-Memorial on Jurisdiction, following the submission of Guyana’s own Memorial, Venezuela did not make any submission on that date.
As the parliamentary Opposition continues to mount pressure, the international community is urging the country’s political players to act swiftly and in compliance with the Constitution, as ordered by the CCJ.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, members of the diplomatic community in Guyana, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union, stated that they have taken note of the CCJ’s pronouncements on July 12.
They said it is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by the CCJ’s ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. The diplomats furthered urged that this adherence be done expeditiously.
“The Caribbean Court of Justice – Guyana’s Supreme Court – has spoken. It is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by its ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. We urge everyone to do so expeditiously,” the diplomats said in the joint communique.
This follows statements issued by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), which also urged compliance with the Court and Constitution. According to the PSC in a statement, the appointment of a new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman must be done the right way. The Commission, which is the umbrella body for the business community, warned that President David Granger must not go down the road of another unilateral appointment.
“The Private Sector Commission of Guyana has noted with great concern the recent consequential order ruling following the final ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on June 12, 2019, in respect to the no-confidence vote against the Government on December 21, 2018, which was validly and properly passed,” the Commission said in the statement.
“In view of the given political and constitutional circumstances, the PSC wishes to register its position – having the highest regard for the respect of the Constitution and the rule of law and order, for the President and Opposition Leader to appoint as a matter of urgency – a Chairman for GECOM from the list submitted by the Leader of the Opposition.”