Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – in landmark rulings today – June 18, 2019

Guyana’s court of last resort, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will deliver landmark rulings this morning that will ultimately decide the country’s political stability. At 10:00hrs, this morning the entire world will tune in as the CCJ pronounces on the validity of the No-Confidence Motion which the Court of Appeal ruled was validly passed on December 21, 2018 in the National Assembly.

Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, reasoned that the rulings will decide whether a No-Confidence Motion exists, or not and if it does its impact and consequences after a successful passage.

He also reasoned that the rulings will decide whether defects in the qualification of a member of the National Assembly can affect its potency and whether the President has the powers to reject nominees submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition for the appointment of a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), and instead unilaterally appoint one of his own choice.

If the court rules in favour of the government, it will serve out its five-year term which expires next year when elections are initially due.

Should the court rule in favour of the Opposition, elections will have to be held within three months in accordance with the provisions of Article 106 (7) of the Constitution of Guyana. However, everything rests on how far the court goes with its consequential orders.

It is without a doubt that the CCJ ruling will establish precedent, and will substantially affect the interpretation of existing laws. From the outset, President of the CCJ Justice Adrian Saunders said that the court recognized the importance of the cases and so ordered that they be treated and regarded as urgent.

On May 8, the Trinidad-based court heard marathon arguments in relation to the appointment process for a Chairman for GECOM in this case, retired Judge James Patterson. The Opposition has contended that the process breached the Constitution. Over a two-day period, May 9 and May 10, the regional court entertained arguments on the Opposition-sponsored motion of no-confidence against the coalition government.

The foremost issue in this case was whether 33 or 34 votes were required to carry the motion given that the National Assembly comprises of 65 members. The government has insisted that 34 votes, or what they deem “an absolute majority” is needed. The Opposition, however, says this is not the case, and that only 33 votes, more so a “simple majority”, were required for its successful passage.

Furthermore, the CCJ ‘s ruling will settle a dispute on whether expelled Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament Charrandass Persaud, who voted in favour of the motion was ineligible to do so owing to him being a citizen of Guyana and Canada—holding dual citizenship.

As it is, Guyana’s High Court and Court of Appeal have both ruled that Persaud was not eligible for membership in the National Assembly because he held dual citizen. Both courts has held that its findings were based on the provisions set out in Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution. But although declaring that Persaud was ineligible, his “yes” vote on the motion was saved by the proviso of Article 165 (2) of the Constitution.

However, the CCJ rules, both Government and Opposition have signaled its preparedness to abide. These litigations have gained widespread recognition. They have been the subject of commentary by political commentators, university professors, media personnel and the walking man on the streets. This morning’s rulings can be streamed live from the CCJ’s website at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dgjs0Mkucvk

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Comments

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 18, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    wiredja.com, Demerara Waves, Guyana Standard, entornointeligente.com, all report that:

    NO Confidence Motion PROPERLY passed with 33 votes!
    As well, appt of GECOM Chair, Patterson is UNconstitutional!

    Missing in reporting so far are Kaieteur News and Stabroek News. Likely huddled together thinking how to put their own spin.

    Now the rigging will move into high gear. Confusion will abound; and If the past is any indication, a particular group will better stay at home.

    Veda Nath Mohabir

  • dhanpaul narine  On June 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Well, we can do better as a country if all parties put aside the hate and plan how to rule the country together. This is a good opportunity to do so. If not, we are back to them, versus us.

  • Linda  On June 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    The whole non-confidence vote was made in an attempt to disrupt the governance of the country, regardless of whether it was legal or not. There was no need for that to have taken place. Now the government needs to stay its course because the electoral list is in the process of being updated and no elections can be held until that’s been accomplished. If Jagdeo thinks that he can force the government to resign and have the PPP step in to rule until the next election is due, then he will be putting the country at risk…something I doubt he gives a crap about anyway. For him it’s all about power. If he has the country’s best interest at heart then he will wait for the next election and let the voters decide.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 18, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    The Burnham-like autocrat, Granger, got slammed here – trying to make the opposition leader look like a school boy, tearing up Jagdeo’s two submissions and appointing his hand-picked Patterson – as reported on the T&T site, cnc3.co.tt

    “In a separate appeal, the CCJ ruled that the appointment of retired Judge James Patterson as chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in October 2017 was fundamentally flawed. The court ruled that Granger failed to give sufficient and compelling reasons for rejecting 18 candidates put forward by Jagdeo, before he went ahead to appoint Patterson.”

    Dr. Narine: With this kind of thinking endemic in the PNC/APNU + AFC there is scant good prognosis for Gy.

    VedaNM.

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