CCJ to hear Parliamentary Secretaries’ appointment case on July 30

Sarah Brown and Vickash Ramkissoon

The Government of Guyana has approached the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to overturn the local courts decision to annul the appointments of Vickash Ramkissoon and Sarah Browne as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall on Tuesday filed written submissions.

During his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News’, Nandlall said the case is fixed for July 30, 2024. He is confident that the CCJ will rule in favour of the Government.

“I have spoken at length of a distinct pattern that in certain types of cases, the Court of Appeal rules against the Government and the Caribbean Court of Justice reverses the court of Appeal’s [judgement] and this has been a consistent pattern in these types of cases,” he said.

Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones had in 2020 challenged the appointments of Ramkissoon and Browne as Parliamentary Secretaries to the Amerindian Affairs and Agriculture Ministries respectively.

He had contended that Browne and Ramkissoon cannot be appointed as non-elected parliamentarians, since they were named on the List of Candidates presented by the PPP/C for the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

Jones’ case was first upheld by acting Chief Justice Roxane George in 2021 and in 2023, Court of Appeal Judge Dawn Gregory affirmed George’s ruling. In dismissing the appeal, Gregory ruled that Browne and Ramkissoon were not lawful members of the National Assembly since they were on the candidate list.

According to Gregory, CJ George did not misconstrue the constitution when she found that the appellants were not eligible to be appointed as non-voting members. The Court of Appeal noted that the Chief Justice acted in law, by following the precedent set in Attorney General vs Morian, which was first decided by now-late Chief Justice Ian Chang in 2016 and whose decision was later affirmed by the Court of Appeal.