Guyana Politics: We will not attend Parliament; CCJ will rule in our favour – Jagdeo

  • The National Assembly meets today at 2pm, but the aisle usually held by the parliamentarians from the Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), will be empty.

The Public Buildings – Parliament

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo held a press conference yesterday, during which he informed journalists that the party will not be attending Parliament.

Jagdeo said that he doesn’t think that any sitting of the parliament should address any of these major issues, “especially before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules definitively” on the cases that sprung from the No-Confidence motion which was voted on, on December 21, 2018.

Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin, who is representing expelled Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian Charandass Persaud, had filed a court action to the CCJ, intending to block the National Assembly’s sitting, but that request was declined by the Caribbean Court yesterday.         

There are a number of important subjects on the agenda, including the circulation of a paper on tax laws for oil companies.

Jagdeo said the PPP’s position is that it will respect the CCJ’s ruling, but that the party will signal to the court “that we will not attend the sitting until the [No Confidence Cases are] definitively heard.”

The Opposition Leader said that he has taken note of the fact that the government already selected four persons to fill the positions vacated by the government-aligned dual citizens. Those persons are expected to be sworn in today.

On the other hand, he said that all of the dual citizens aligned with the PPP have resigned from the National Assembly, namely Gail Teixeira, Adrian Anamayah and Odinga Lumumba. Those positions will remain vacant.

According to Jagdeo, the PPP will not be recommending any persons to fill those positions. This is because he doesn’t expect there to be a need for the MPs to head back to Parliament before elections.

“If we win the case at the CCJ – and the prospects look good – there will be no need for [PPP to head back to Parliament], because parliament will not reconvene. So, we are waiting on the ruling from the CCJ.”

He said that he believes the court will rule in the favour of the PPP, and that that ruling will ensure elections are held early.

Further, he said that, if the ruling stands, it would have major implications for other countries in the region. Jagdeo said that the PPP has already written to almost every country in the region to pay attention to this case. This, he said, is due to the fact that the precedent used to reason that 34 votes are needed, instead of 33, to pass the motion, is one that is meant for legislatures with an even number of persons sitting in the assembly. He said that, if the ruling stands, it would mean that that precedent could also be applied to an odd number legislature.

Despite that possibility, Jagdeo said that the PPP is hopeful that the Appeal Court’s ruling will not stand.

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