University of Guyana Law Professor and former Judge at the Caribbean Court of Justice, Professor Justice Duke Pollard is of the opinion that the President erred in his announcement of an election date without the parliament being first dissolved.
In a letter in Saturday’s Stabroek News, Justice Pollard pointed out that “the President and his learned Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs must be advised that, contrary to their delusionary understanding and the expressions of approbation by the political opposition and other well-wishers, a definitive determination of the election date within the meaning of Article 61 of the Guyana Constitution is yet to be made.”
Justice Pollard stated that according to Article 61 such a determination requires:
(a) appointment of the election date by the President by proclamation, that is, an appropriate gazettable instrument in writing;
(b) such appointment to be made only after the dissolution of Parliament and not before nor during its prorogation.
He said taking that into account, no constitutionally valid election date has been determined.
President Donald Ramotar on Tuesday evening announced May 11, 2015 as the date when Guyanese will head to the polls for general and regional elections. He did not announce the dissolving of parliament in that Address to the Nation. The Parliament has been prorogued since November.
The Attorney General Anil Nandall has been trying to defend the President’s decision but the Guyana Human Rights Association and other groups have raised concern about the date being announced with no dissolving of the parliament.