… as Legal challenge filed to keep Govt in office
In light of the High Court challenge regarding the no-confidence vote which took place on December 21, 2018 in the National Assembly, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has called on the judiciary not to get entangled in the conspiracy to undermine the constitution.
In a statement issued by the parliamentary opposition, the party stated that it expects that the matter will be heard on a day-to-day basis and that the Judiciary would not contribute to the Government’s violation of the Constitution.
“We will join the proceedings and we ask other interested parties, who wish to take an active part in the protection of our Constitution and democracy to do likewise”.
The PPP is holding out that having failed to persuade the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland to reconsider and reverse his ruling and thereby subvert and violate the Constitution of Guyana and established parliamentary practice and precedents, the Coalition Government has now moved to the Judiciary with the aim of getting it to do likewise.
This, the PPP stated is a desperate attempt to hold on to reins of Government beyond the time fixed by Article 106 (7) of the Constitution.
“We maintain that the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed and the Speaker’s ruling that is was so passed, accompanied by the Clerk’s affirmation, cannot be enquired into or interfered with, by the Judiciary. Moreover, the Judiciary has no jurisdiction to violate or extend any timeframe prescribed by the Constitution, since the Constitution is supreme and the Judiciary is subject to the Constitution, not vice versa”, the PPP added.
However, the main plank of these legal proceedings is that Charrandas Persaud was not qualified to be elected to the National Assembly because he is a citizen of Canada.
“We must point out that it is the very APNU+AFC who placed Charrandas Persaud in the National Assembly in the first place and relied on his vote for the past three years”, the opposition stated.
As such, the PPP accuses that Government of putting the entire nation into chaos and do untold damage by invalidating everything done and every law passed in the Parliament, since 2015.
“Fortunately, the Constitution makes provisions for such eventualities and deficiencies of these types cannot invalidate proceedings, in which a Member so affected, may have participated. Article 165 (2) is crystally clear on this matter”, the PPP added.
This section of the constitution states, “The Assembly may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership (including any vacancy not filled when the Assembly first meets after the commencement of this Constitution or after any dissolution of Parliament) and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at or to participate in the proceedings of the Assembly shall not invalidate those proceedings.”
The party has contended that the legal proceedings filed are, therefore, frivolous and is simply intended to be used by the Coalition Government as a lifeline to remain unlawfully and unconstitutionally in Office.
On Friday, a private citizen through a team of high profile lawyers led by Senior Counsel Rex McKay on Friday afternoon filed the challenge outlining a request for government to remain in office until the matter is settled legally and more so, to declare the vote cast by former Member of Parliament, Charrandas Persaud illegal.
The 26-page application was submitted to the Court in the name Compton Herbert Reid with respondents being Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, former Member of Parliament, Charrandas Persaud and Attorney General, Basil Williams.
The application in part stated “An Order staying the enforcement of Resolution No 101 declared by the National Assembly to have been passed in the National Assembly on December 21st, 2018…A conservatory order, preserving the status quo ante that the Government remains in office until the hearing and determination of the reliefs sought herein…”
In addition, Reid is challenging the vote cast by former MP, Charrandas Persaud who is purportedly the holder of a Canadian passport and ultimately dual citizenship. On Thursday, Dr Scotland upheld the passage of the no-confidence motion which saw the house voting 33/32 in favor. Alliance For Change Member of Parliament, Charrandas Persaud would have voted in favor of the motion.
In this light, the court was asked to declare that Persaud was not qualified for election as a Member of the National Assembly, by virtue of his own act and acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience and adherence to a foreign power, being the Sovereign State of Canada, in contravention of Article 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana.
With the issue surrounding his citizenship, Reid asked the Court to declare the vote cast by Persaud on December 21 vote in the National Assembly in favour of the no-confidence motion null, void and of no legal effect.