Even as Government digs its heels in after losing its legal challenge to the no-confidence vote, United Nations Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka is urging the State to demonstrate its integrity and respect the Constitution.
According to Tanaka, who was at the time addressing an interfaith ceremony on Friday at the launching of Harmony Week, building a peaceful and just society requires respect for the rule of law and confidence in national institutions.
“SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 16 recognises that building a peaceful, just and inclusive society that provides equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights requires respect for the rule of law, good governance and transparent institutions.”
“Recent political developments triggered by the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, are a test for Guyana’s strength and integrity with regards to the effectiveness of the rule of law and governance” said Tanaka.
She lauded acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George for demonstrating the independence and integrity of the Judiciary when it comes to protecting the Constitution of Guyana.
She added that Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, had previously rejected Government’s attempts to overturn the no- confidence vote in his chambers.
“The delivery of the decisions by the Chief Justice demonstrates the independence and integrity of the Judiciary in protecting the Constitution and upholding the rule of law. The Honourable Speaker’s earlier validation of the process of the controversial voting at the National Assembly was testimony of the integrity of the legislative arm of the State.”
“It is hoped that the third arm of the State, the Executive, will demonstrate its integrity and respect for Guyana’s Constitution and the Judiciary that constitute the foundation for the rule of law,” Tanaka added.
She also noted that upcoming General and Regional Elections will be a big test for Guyana, considering the atmosphere of mistrust that permeated previous elections. She noted that the need for political parties to be responsible was absolutely critical for bringing an end to racial inequality.
“Voting citizens, young and senior, women and men, should inform themselves of issues that affect their lives and the wider society and what they should expect and demand of political parties in shaping the future.”
The acting Chief Justice ruled on Thursday that the No-confidence Motion was validly passed 33-32 in the National Assembly and the Cabinet has to resign in keeping with constitutional provisions of Article 106 and 106 (7) respectively.
Consequent to the declaration that the 33-majority meant that the motion was carried, CJ George observed that the President and the Ministers cannot therefore remain in Government in accordance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) after three months.
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, 106 (7) goes on to state 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.”
She said too that Government will remain in office until the next President is sworn in but not the Cabinet which advises the President.
Justice George also determined that the court cannot set aside a motion that is validly passed and noted that the Speaker’s ruling in the resolution was “lawful and valid”, therefore refusing the Attorney General’s application.