Govt awaiting written judgment from court to proceed further on presidential term limit

GINA Guyana, Thursday April 27, 2017

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon today announced that an appeal has been filed and the government is awaiting a written judgment from the Court of Appeal in order to proceed further with the presidential third term limit case.

In February of this year, the Court of Appeal ruled that presidential term limits are unconstitutional. The government then said that it will be moving to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to challenge the ruling.

“That is basically where we are, a notice of appeal has been filed and the specific terms will have to await the written judgment by the court,” Minister Harmon explained during a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, today.

During the February ruling, Justice B.S. Roy and former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh dismissed the appeal by Attorney General Basil Williams, SC and former Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman, and upheld the ruling of the former Chief Justice. However, former Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards allowed the appeal of the High Court’s decision.

In 2015, the then Chief Justice, Ian Chang (ag) ruled that the constitutional amendment, Act No. 17 of 2001, which limits the number of times a person could be elected as President was unconstitutional. He said that such decisions require a referendum.

In 2014, Cedric Richardson, a Guyanese citizen, filed a constitutional challenge regarding the two-term limit for the country’s presidency. The challenge was filed by Attorneys-at-Law Emily Dodson and Shawn Allicock, on behalf of Richardson.

In 2000, the National Assembly passed amendments to the Act governing eligibility to seek Presidency of Guyana. Those amendments made it ineligible for someone who would have been elected to serve twice as President to seek a third term.

By: Synieka Thorne