Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George’s rulings upholding the validity of the Opposition’s No-confidence Motion has sparked mixed reactions from the public and several stakeholder bodies are calling on the nation to accept the court’s decisions.
On Thursday, Justice George ruled that the No-confidence Motion was validly passed on December 21, 2018 and that the absolute majority of the 65 seats in the National Assembly is 33 and not 34 as contended by Government.
She also noted that while former coalition Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud should not have been a sitting parliamentarian because of his dual citizenship, at the time of his vote on the motion, he was a valid MP hence his vote was valid.
Moreover, the Chief Justice in her decision on a separate matter filed by Christopher Ram said the President and the Cabinet should have resigned immediately upon the passage of the motion but remain in office until elections are held.
Hours after these rulings, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) called on the entire nation, including political parties, to respect the court’s decisions.
In a statement, the PSC went on to urge the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), “to fulfil its constitutional obligation to hold itself ready to conduct General Elections as is required by the Constitution as a result of the No- confidence Motion, that is, within 90 days of the motion, unless otherwise extended by a two-thirds majority of the Parliament.”
The Private Sector umbrella body further called on the elections body to immediately declare its position on this question as a matter of public interest and necessity.
While the Opposition also believes that Government should adhere to the court rulings, the coalition has insisted it will be appealing the decision at the Court of Appeal since Thursday’s decisions were not in favour of its position with regard to the vote on December 21, 2018.
Government’s move to appeal was supported by the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), which said in a statement on Thursday that exhausting a legal resource is a constitutional option afforded to the Government.
Recognising that the proceedings will extract high tension and emotional reactions, the GTUC urge persons to desist from any actions that besmirch the character of the learned and upstanding Judge.
Moreover, the Union went on to repeat calls for Government and the Opposition to work together to keep the nation intact through this phase, while keeping the citizenry mindful of the tension, both internal and external, threatening the country’s peace and stability.
“Citizens are also urged to hold all politicians, civic society and those who engender to engulf this nation in any acts of mayhem or terror accountable for their well-being and safety at this point in time. So far our society is holding up well in pursuing this legal recourse and we must continue to do so cognisant that at the end of the day, we still have a nation to build, and a destiny to mould. We are still one people, interdependent and connected by a shared history. This is as defining a time as many historical landmarks in our political struggles,” the GTUC said in the missive.