Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Sunday announced that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) would not be attending the sittings of the National Assembly when it reconvened in the near future.
According to Jagdeo in the announcement on his social media page, he wishes to “place on record that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) will not attend any sitting of the National Assembly”.
This, according to Jagdeo, will be in effect while the appeal of the Appellate Court’s ruling on the no-confidence motion is pending at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the no-confidence motion was not validly passed, the PPP/C had announced on Friday that it would move to the CCJ.
Acting Chief Justice Roxane George, in January, upheld the December 21, 2018 passage of the no-confidence motion, ruling that in Guyana’s 65-member National Assembly a majority is 33. This, however, was appealed by Attorney General Basil Williams.
But while Justice Rishi Persaud on Friday dismissed the appeal and concurred with the ruling of the High Court, his colleague appellate Judges allowed the State’s appeal.
Both Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Dawn Gregory opined that while 33 was the majority of the 65-member National Assembly, the successful passage of a no-confidence motion required an “absolute majority” of 34 and not the “simple” 33 majority that has been used to pass ordinary business in the House.
Following the ruling, Opposition Leader Jagdeo stated that the Constitution of Guyana is pellucid on what number of votes is needed for the passage of a no-confidence motion; it is a majority of all elected parliamentarians – the majority of 65 is 33 votes.
According to him, the Constitution is clear in saying that the vote is valid if a majority of all elected parliamentarians – 33 parliamentarians – cast their vote in favour of the passage of a no-confidence motion.
He added that all right-thinking Guyanese would conclude that 33 is the majority of 65 – a conclusion that was extensively addressed by the Chief Justice (ag) in her ruling.