Coalition Govt legal; constitutional – Min. Greenidge

– govt remains in office unhindered

– back to “business as usual”

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, March 23, 2019

The majority ruling handed down yesterday by the Court of Appeal reaffirms the position held by the coalition government that the event of December 21, 2018, had no lawful or constitutional bearing.

This is according to Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who said this evening that the Administration returns to “business as usual.”

Minister Greenidge, who is also performing the duties of Head of State, addressed the nation on the National Communication Network (NCN) following the ruling by acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice, Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Appellate Judges, Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud. Both Chancellor Cummings-Edwards and Justice Gregory overruled the January 21 ruling of acting Chief Justice Roxane George, that the December 21 very, brought against the government by the opposition, was valid. They ruled that a vote of 34 and not 33 was needed to see an absolute majority.

According to Minister Greenidge, the government is pleased with the decision, as it settles matters that have been discussed “ad nauseum” for several months and which led to some level of uncertainty in the society.

“The majority decision establishes that the coalition government is legal and lawful and constitutionally remains in office without hindrances or let,” Minster Greenidge said.

He reminded that from the time the government had invited the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland to revisit and address the vote of December 21 and its consequences, it was confident that the required threshold for a no-confidence vote was 34 and not 33.

“That position has been today eminently vindicated by the esteem members of the Court of Appeal. This majority decision reaffirms and underscores that democracy in Guyana remains robust and strong and how we address complex and difficult problems in a mature manner.”

He continued, “it also underscores respect for the independence of the judiciary and the separation of power.”

Moving forward, Minister Greenidge said, while there is another leg of legal resort and while any party has the right to move in that direction, the government remains in place. He said while Parliament still lives, arrangements will be made for it to meet and conduct its business unhindered.

“The Parliament, acting on the decision of the courts, can meet as soon as it likes to address whatever it likes and to deal with Bills and Motions however it likes. That is the predictable business of Parliament. The President and Ministers can go about their business,” he assured.

To this end, he urged all Guyanese to also carry out their business as usual.

“I urge all Guyanese to continue to conduct their business and go about their daily activities with the full confidence that their safety and well being are assured.”

While encouraging Guyanese to respect the ruling of the court, Minister Greenidge said should there be additional legal challenges at the level of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the government will remain calm and await the outcome of that process as well.

Alexis Rodney.

Images: Keno George.