PM explains mathematical formula used to calculate majority

─ law court to provide certain and finite answers

─ decision to form basis for “full, final and complete settlement of controversies”

DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 7, 2019

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo in his column “My Turn” in the Guyana Chronicle this weekend, explained the mathematical formula used to calculate the majority of the elected Members of Parliament.

There are 65 members in the National Assembly, half of 65 would be equalled to 32.5. However, there can never be half of an elected Member of Parliament, hence, the number is rounded up bringing it up to 33. Therefore, the majority of the elected Members of Parliament would be 33 + 1.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted the criticism surrounding the mathematical formula used and expressed his view that:

“It is always the better course in an unprecedented case such as that in which Guyana finds itself, to look to the court to provide what the Speaker sees as certain and finite answers.”

This, he said, “may form the basis for full, final and complete settlement of controversies arising from the interpretation of provisions of our constitution.”

It was highlighted that this is the core issue of the validity of the December 21, 2018 vote being calculated 33:32. According to Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana, there must be a majority of all elected members of the National Assembly for a no-confidence motion to be passed.

At the 112th sitting of the 11th Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland recommended the contentions surrounding the December 21, 2018 vote be brought before the courts for settlement.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said the Speaker of the National Assembly received information which was supported by “case law and parliamentary practice from other countries, and it raises certain issues regarding the interpretation of provisions of the constitution.” As such, the Speaker of the National Assembly expressed his preference for the courts “to place beyond reasonable doubt any question which may exist regarding the constitutional issues” noting that there are “certain provisions of the constitution which need examination and require final determination.”

While the Speaker of the National Assembly does have the authority to reverse his ruling, he had indicated at the 112th sitting of the 11th Parliament that he would not do so without “strong and compelling grounds”.

In his column, the Prime Minister stated:

“It is the Supreme Court of Judicature which has to consider these grounds in its interpretation of provisions of the constitution.”

The full article can be viewed here: https://dpi.gov.gy/courts-to-determine-validty-of-dec-21-vote/

Anara Khan.

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