The Caribbean Court of Justice this afternoon stayed clear of setting any date or timeline by which Guyana should host elections, throwing that issue over to Guyana’s political players.
In delivering the consequential orders, CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders said the Constitutional provisions on the passage of a no-confidence motion are clear and “it would not, therefore, be right for the Court by the issuance of coercive orders or detailed directives to presume to instruct these bodies on how they must act and thereby preempt the performance by them of their constitutional responsibilities. It is not, for example, the role of the Court to establish a date on or by which the elections must be held or to lay down timelines or deadlines that in principle are the preserve of political actors guided by Constitutional imperatives”.
The Opposition wanted the Court to order that elections be held by September 18, 2019 and also wanted the Court to order that the Elections Commission uses the old voter’s list for the elections. The Court stayed away from granting those orders.
Justice Saunders said the Court must assume that the bodies and personalities will exercise integrity in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution, adding that it is clear that the Government will remain in office in keeping with the Constitution but its role may now be in a caretaker capacity since the Constitution also provides for the resignation of the President and Cabinet on the passage of a no-confidence motion.
“It is important that the Court makes this point. In mandating that the Government shall remain in office notwithstanding its defeat and the resignation of the President and Cabinet, Article 106 envisages that the tenure in office of the Cabinet after the Government’s defeat is on a different footing from that which existed prior to the vote of no-confidence”, he said.
The CCJ maintained that the no-confidence motion was validly passed back in December and that although Charrandass Persaud was not eligible to be elected, his vote could still count.
“Given the passage of the no-confidence motion on the 21st December 2018, a General Election should have been held in Guyana by 21st March 2019, unless a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly had resolved to extend that period. The National Assembly is yet to extend the period. The filing of the Court proceedings in January challenging the validity of the no-confidence vote effectively placed matters on pause but this Court rendered its decision on the 18th June 2019. There is no appeal from that Judgement”.
On the issue of the GECOM Chairman, the CCJ President said it has been known to the Court that Chairman of GECOM has resigned and the process has now started for a new GECOM Chairman.
Costs were awarded to the Leader of the Opposition and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram.