Govt wraps up presentation in Court of Appeal

─ a decision will be made shortly – acting Chancellor of the Judiciary

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 15, 2019

A decision in the court matter challenging the passage of the December 21 vote by 33 votes rather than 34 will be revealed soon.

“Notice will be sent for decisions shortly,” said Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards.

Thursday was the government’s final presentation in the Court of Appeal. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC., on behalf of the government petitioned the Court of Appeal to reverse the ruling of the Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George on the December 21 vote.

In her ruling, acting Chief Justice George 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, constituted a majority, and therefore the government was defeated in the vote.

AG Williams’ grounds of appeal surround the government’s position that the acting Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law when she ruled that 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.

The government also believes that the acting Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law, when she ruled that the passage of the motion of no-confidence, provided by the said Article (106 (6) of the Constitution), by the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, required that the Cabinet resign.

AG Williams also sought a decision regarding, the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland.

The government has, therefore, asked the Court of Appeal for an order setting aside, the acting Chief Justice’s decision and all consequential orders made thereunder.

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

In the meantime, Former Attorney General of Grenada, Queen’s Counsel, Dr. Francis Alexis, who joined government’s legal team, ended Thursday’s presentation by again putting forth the argument, that 34 votes in the 65-member National Assembly constituted an absolute majority and not 33 as ruled by the Chief Justice on January 31.

The matter in the Court of Appeal went before Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud.

Felecia Valenzuela

Images: Department of Public Information