Guyana Politics: Western diplomats urge actors to abide by CCJ’s rulings expeditiously

US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch

The court had been approached after a number of legal challenges starting with the High Court on the December 21 no-confidence motion (NCM) which saw the government fall and provisions of the Constitution of Guyana triggered for elections within three months.

In the order handed down last week by the Trinidad-headquartered CCJ, the court stopped short of announcing a date for early elections but pointed out that Constitution speaks to how matters should be handled.           

In essence, the court told Guyana that “the President and the Leader of the Opposition should, as soon as possible, embark upon and conclude the process of appointing a new GECOM Chairman.”

Regarding the consolidated matters concerning the no-confidence motion, the CCJ noted that there is clear guidance in Article 106 of Guyana’s Constitution on what should happen next. The Court said that “upon the passage of a vote of no confidence, the Article requires the resignation of the Cabinet including the President.

UK High Commissioner- Greg Quinn

The Article goes on to state, among other things, that notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and that an election shall be held “within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine”.

The Court reminded, however, that it had rendered its decision on 18 June 2019. As to the precise orders it should make, the CCJ cautioned, however, that it is, “not the role of the Court to establish a date on, or by which, the elections must be held”.

The CCJ did express the view that it is expected that the Government will continue as a caretaker for the affairs of the country, but that in light of its caretaker role, it should be restrained in the use of its legal authority.

It was also the court’s view that a Chairman for GECOM should be embarked upon with “the utmost urgency”.
Yesterday, the US, United Kingdom and the European Union urged that the issue be dealt with.
There was no mention of Canada in the joint statement.

“The United States of America Ambassador to Guyana, Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E. Greg Quinn, and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Ambassador Jernej Videtič, issued a joint statement following the issue of the Caribbean Court of Justice Definitive Orders on 12 July 2019.

EU Ambassador Jernej Videtič

“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.”

On Friday, President David Granger said he is prepared to hold early elections. However, there must be a new Voters’ List to be prepared from house-to-house registration.

The Head of State was also critical of what he says is bad faith from the Opposition on the selection of a new GECOM chairman. The Opposition, on the other hand, is insisting that elections have to be held in three months, by September.

They said that in keeping with the Constitution and the court rulings, Government merely has to perform a caretaker role in those three months until elections.

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  • Denise  On 07/17/2019 at 12:28 pm

    Abide in what way??? Do they want a Guyana election that is based on a flawed voters list? I’m sure that once the list has been properly updated, elections will proceed. What’s the difference between a caretaker government and the current government? It’s still the same government.

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