The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Guyana has rubbished the opinion being put forward by prominent Attorney, Nigel Hughes, that the no-confidence motion was not properly passed.
In its statement, the Association said it rejects Hughes’ contentions as erroneous. The Bar Association is headed by Attorney, Kamal Ramkarran.
“The Bar Council has noted various attempts to argue that the motion was not validly passed in the National Assembly, including from Nigel Hughes, a prominent Attorney-at-Law who contends that a positive vote of 34 members of the National Assembly was required for the passage of the motion. The Bar Council rejects as erroneous such contentions that the motion was not properly passed or that the vote is, for any reason, invalid”, the Association said.
Mr. Hughes’ position is that the Constitution speaks of a majority for the no-confidence motion to be carried, but with 65 members, 33 does not really represent a majority.
According to Hughes, half of 65 would be 32 and a half, but because there could be no such thing as a half member, in his opinion, it is moved to the closest number which is 33 as that half. He said 34 votes would have been needed, in his view, for the motion to be carried by a majority.
However, the Bar Association said it has noted that the result of the vote has been accepted by the Government and the President.
The Government, however, has since set up a cabinet sub-committee that will seek legal advice and opinions on the vote and offer recommendations.
But the Bar Association in its statement this afternoon, said national and regional elections are constitutionally due by the operation of Article 106(6) of the Constitution no later than Thursday, 19 March 2019 on the expiration of 90 days from 21 December 2018, when the motion was passed.
The Association did not mention that the same constitution also makes provisions for the elections to be called at a date that is agreed to by two-thirds of the Assembly.
However, the Bar Council “urges that the results and consequences of the motion be accepted and that urgent preparations for elections by the Elections Commission be started”
According to the Association, “the giving of effect to any contentions that there is some possibility other than elections being held within 90 days of the passage of the motion could lead to instability and our democracy must be protected by the unambiguous adherence to the rule of law and to the provisions of Article 106(6) of the Constitution.”