Govt appeals Chief Justice’s ruling on Dec. 21, 2018 vote

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The office of the Attorney General (AG) and Ministry of Legal Affairs today filed a petition in the Court of Appeal to reverse the ruling of Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George on January 31.

The challenge relates to the judgement handed down in the matters which challenged the legality of the December 21, 2018 vote in National Assembly.

According to a release from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the grounds of appeal surround the belief that the acting Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she ruled that on December 21, 2018, the National Assembly of Guyana properly, validly and lawfully passed a motion on a vote of no-confidence, provided for by Article 106 (6) of the Constitution, in which the government was defeated.

The release further noted that the acting Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she ruled that the passage of the motion of no-confidence, provided for by Article 106 (6) of the Constitution, by the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, requires that the Cabinet shall resign on December 21, 2018.

The AG argues too that the Chief Justice erred in law and fact, and her decision was unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence. It said further grounds of Appeal will be filed when the judgment of the acting Chief Justice becomes available.

The release said the appellant seeks an order setting aside the decision of the acting Chief Justice which was made on January 31, 2019, and all consequential orders made thereunder.

Following the ruling in the High Court last Thursday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC., had indicated government’s intent to appeal the matter.

During her ruling, the acting Chief Justice said while there is a need for an absolute majority vote in the National Assembly, the 33 votes in the 65-member Parliament, in her opinion, would constitute that majority.

The Attorney General has maintained the government’s disagreement with the notion that the 33-votes constitute an absolute majority, contending that an absolute majority is stronger than the simple majority in Guyana’s Parliament.

The matter which was filed before the High Court in early January by the AG had sought answers to several questions including:

(i) whether the Speaker’s ruling on the motion debated in the National Assembly on December 21 was carried by a vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly is unlawful, null and void being contrary to Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana and;

(ii) whether the requisite majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly ought to be 34.

Alexis Rodney.

Images: Department of Public Information.

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