Speaker decides that Courts should make final determination on Dec. 21 vote
─ suggests legal interpretation; settlement outside of the National Assembly
─ Coalition Govt remains in Office until elections are called
─ Govt business continues
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 3, 2019
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland today declined the invitation to reverse his ruling on the December 21, 2018, vote and instead has suggested that the matter be taken to the Court of Law for an interpretation or settled outside of the National Assembly.
While acknowledging that his authority enables him to revisit and reverse any previous ruling, the Speaker said there must be strong and compelling grounds to do so. He said at all times he must act in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, which is the Supreme Law.
The Speaker, however, made clear that the Coalition Government remains in office until elections are called, as per the Constitution.
Dr. Scotland said since the December 21, 2018 ruling, he has received solicited and unsolicited advice on how to treat with the vote. One of which suggests that for the Confidence Motion to be passed it must require majority votes of elected Members of the National Assembly. This includes a mathematical half of the current 65 MPs plus one, which means 34 votes would be needed for the motion to be passed.
This, he noted, is supported by Article 168 of the Constitution which states, “Save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, all questions proposed for decision in the National Assembly shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.”
By saying that he has doubts, the Speaker has opened the door for a legal challenge against the no confidence vote.
The government has indicated that it will seek legal settlement if the ruling by the Speaker is not in its favour.
Image: Keno George.