CCJ appreciates Guyana’s “hybrid” Constitution – AG Williams

— “great decision made today”

— there is no three-month timeline for govt – AG clarifies

DPI, Guyana, Friday, July 12, 2019

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not prepared to intervene in the affairs of Guyana’s Supreme law, as the very Constitution of Guyana assigns all functions to the relevant actors.

It is for this reason that the highest court in the Caribbean today refrained from making any pronouncements on the way forward for Guyana, during the ruling of the consequential orders.

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Honourable Basil Williams, SC., today said that the CCJ has now left the matters of the appointment of Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in the hands of both the His Excellency, President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Bharrat Jagdeo; and the naming of a date for elections in the hands of the President.

“Today, they [CCJ] felt that both the President and Leader of the Opposition should be able to expeditiously appoint a GECOM Chair. They don’t feel that they should give directions to either side or detail any timelines for them,” the AG said.

The Attorney General was a special guest on the online radio programme “Straight up Live” on Benschop Radio 107.1 FM.

He said the CCJ clearly conveyed today that it was not intervening in functions that are detailed to the actors under the Constitution.

“In the case of the President and GECOM, they recognised that the Constitution has invested certain powers in these parties, and they are not prepared to interfere with them,” he told the host.

“I think it is a great decision they made today not to attempt to fix a date for elections or to direct GECOM in any respect or regard on how to compose a specific list that is necessary for elections in Guyana,” he noted.

According to the AG, “The naming of an election date under Article 61 of the Constitution reposes in the President to do so by proclamation and the President also dissolves Parliament by proclamation. He is the only person empowered under the Constitution so to do.”

Addressing the misinformation by the opposition, the Attorney General said there is no three-month timeline for the government, as the court never addressed that issue.

The Minister of Legal Affairs said what Guyana needs now is a credible election “and credible elections deserve a credible list”.  He promised that the government will continue to abide by the law, to ensure timely and credible elections. 

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