34 majority of 65 “just doesn’t add up” – electoral professor

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Professor Emeritus Errol Miller has argued that the formula used to invalidate the passage of the 2018 no-confidence motion in Guyana’s Parliament simply does not add up.

Professor Miller is a retired professor of the University of the West Indies who is versed in election matters. He was also a former Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Electoral Organisations.

In a video broadcast dubbed Caribbean Commentary, Professor Miller said if the same rationale used in Guyana’s case was used in Trinidad, then the twin island’s 41 House divided by two would equal 20.5 members, which rounded to a whole number would be 21, plus one, equalling 22.

According to Miller, this would mean 43 votes to 41 members. A similar situation would hold true in Jamaica.

“More votes passed than is constitutionally eligible constitutes electoral malpractice in all Caribbean countries. It is commonly referred to as over voting. More votes cast than there are eligible persons to cast them.”

“One can only hope that the members of the learned profession representing both sides of this case before the CCJ will ensure that all legal procedures and all technicalities are strictly observed in a timely manner and that the varying points of view are argued with the highest levels of logic, facts and eloquence, such that the facts to be decided by the CCJ are with respect to law and merit.”

The no-confidence related matters before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) are expected to be heard on May 9 and 10.

Both Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Dawn Gregory opined that while 33 is the majority of the 65-member National Assembly, the successful passage of a no-confidence motion requires an “absolute majority” of 34, and not the “simple” majority of 33 that has been used to pass ordinary business in the House.

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