AG closes off three-day December 21 High Court case

DPI, Guyana, Friday, January 25, 2019

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, SC today opened arguments in his application to the Supreme Court on the December 21 motion, before acting Chief Justice Roxanne George.

Among the arguments presented by the AG was the validity of Resolution 101, a subsidiary legislation, which he said, is inconsistent with Article 70 (3) of the Constitution – an entrenched provision guaranteeing any one government a five-year term.

“The Resolution is the certificate of the Speaker that purports to say that whatever is contained in it is conclusive to what transpired in Parliament. It is subsidiary legislation and as the Constitution is part of an Act. If any subsidiary legislation is inconsistent with the provisions of an Act, it is void to the extent of that inconsistency and that is what we are saying,” he told the media following the hearing.

He said it is only the President, who is head of the government, that can reduce the five-year term and not the opposition.

The AG’s team which included Attorneys Roysdale Forde and Maxwell Edwards also addressed the various majorities that exist in the National Assembly, pointing out that it is only the absolute majority that is required in a vote of no-confidence.

“The simple majority is the simplest one. The absolute majority has to be greater than the 33 of the simple majority because it requires all the majority that is present, then you have the two-thirds majority…

The team also examined whether the court has jurisdictions over the actions of the Parliament. The AG’s case today showed that the court can, in fact, enquire to be sure that the Parliament did not exceed its powers and boundaries.

The case on Friday was the final of the three that were before the Acting Chief Justice. The other two were Compton Reid versus the Attorney General and Charrandass Persaud and the Christopher Ram Versus the Attorney General and Leader of the opposition. Chief Justice (ag) George said she will make rulings on all three matters on Thursday, January 31.

According to the AG, the government’s team is confident about the outcome of the ruling next Thursday.

“We did a lot of work in this matter and we believe that the court will make its decision,” he said.

Alexis Rodney.

Images: Jules Gibson.