American Chamber, GCCI add voice for Govt to respect CCJ ruling

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Chairman of AmCham Zulfikar Ally

The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) are the two latest Private Sector bodies to join the call for the coalition Government to respect the rulings of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and adhere to the constitutional requirements following the successful passage of the December 21, 2018, No-Confidence Motion.

Ever since the Opposition tabled motion was successfully carried in the National Assembly some seven months ago, the proverbial constitutional scale has been unbalanced because of non-compliance with Article 106 of the Constitution. Initially, Government accepted defeat and promised to follow the law of the land but that position changed when questions were raised about whether the number of votes required to successfully pass the motion was achieved.

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Boyer

Chief Justice (ag), Roxanne George ruled that the motion was successfully carried but that was overturned when the Court of Appeal ruled, 2-1, that the motion was not carried since it required 34 of the 63 votes in the National Assembly. However, the CCJ has since ruled that the motion was successfully carried and the constitutional provisions should be adhered to.

The unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson as Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission was also thrown out as being “flawed” and in violation of the Constitution by the CCJ.

Since the CCJ issued its consequential orders on July 12, there has been much controversy on the Government’s approach on the way forward.

In light of this, AMCHAM is urging all political actors to comply with the CCJ ruling in an effort to bring an early resolution to the consequential orders in keeping with the Constitution of Guyana. The Chamber anticipates that this process will be expeditious and mirror democratic customs as was explicitly clear in the ruling of the Court as mandated by the relevant provisions of Guyana’s Constitution, which in effect ensures the maintenance of the rule of law which is critical for continued investor confidence in Guyana.

“AMCHAM also notes the obligations of the President of Guyana, the Leader of the Opposition and the Guyana Elections Commission to act with integrity and statesmanship in upholding the Constitution and rule of law. It is an opportune time for goodwill to prevail to unite all the people of Guyana towards a sustainable and economically prosperous Guyana,” the Chamber said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in a strongly worded statement, the GCCI said that it is cognisant of the current political climate and its impact on the business sector and Guyana as a whole. The GCCI said that uncertainty in the political arena has grave implications for investment, consumption and by extension, economic growth of the country. It added that businesses require certainty and stability in their external environment, which foster the confidence to invest. It went on to explain that it is the role of Government to provide a stable environment which is conducive to business.

Thus far, the Chamber believes it necessary to add its voice to the situation as the uncertainty about the next steps affects members and cause for concern have been invoked.

The GCCI sought to remind Government that they are in “caretaker” mode and adherence to the Constitution is imperative.