Consequential Orders: Opposition seeking order directing President, Cabinet to resign; elections by Sept 18

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Sanjeev Datadin 

Ahead of the July 12 hearing where the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will hand down consequential orders in the No-Confidence Motion cases, lawyers for the various parties have submitted their proposals for what the Court should order.

The CCJ had previously given each side until July 1, 2019, to make written submissions varying from 20 to 40 pages in length. Attorney Sanjeev Datadin, who represents former Alliance for Change Parliamentarian Charandass Persaud, in his submission asked that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) be ordered to hold elections by September 18 – three months after the CCJ first ruled the Motion valid.

Datadin included the advice given by GECOM Legal Adviser Excellence Dazzel that the commission should update the previous voters list to ensure they follow the law. He also warned that to ensure compliance, the Court would have to set strict timelines and oversee their implementation.

“The orders that are made must be strict with time stipulated and this Court must exercise full supervision of its enforcement and implementation. This is the only way to protect the rule of law for the people of Guyana,” he said in his submissions.

He added that the orders must reiterate to the Government that they are only a “caretaker Government” and restrict the opportunity for delay. “It is humbly submitted the Court must act to protect the rule of law in Guyana. It must not tolerate the delays and system of delays being sought by the Government and GECOM,” he also wrote.

Opposition’s position

Meanwhile, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall made known on Tuesday evening during his live-streamed call-in programme, that one of the things the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) team is seeking is an order directing that President David Granger and his Cabinet resign, as they should have done in accordance with Article 106 (6 and 7).

Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall

Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”

Meanwhile, Article 106 (7) states that “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”

Nandlall explained that the PPP sought “liberty to apply”, which means that if the Government does not comply with the consequential Court orders, they can return to the CCJ to report them for disobeying Court orders.

On the matter of the appointment of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman, Nandlall added that his party will be seeking orders giving the President a few days to comply. He warned that the consequences for disobeying Court orders can lead to international sanctions against both individual ministers and the Government as a whole.

Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams at CCJ

The Government side has also confirmed that it made its submissions. It argued in its submissions that House-to-House registration was still necessary. Reports in sections of the media indicate that the Government is maintaining that the National Assembly extends its time in office.

Such a resolution, which requires a two-thirds majority by law, has already been rejected by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. During a previous press conference, Jagdeo had pointed out that when the opposition was offering the chance for a parliamentary extension in keeping with the constitutional timeline, the Government was whiling away time in the judicial system.