“We will obey the decisions of GECOM” – AG Williams

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, September 19, 2019

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Basil Williams SC., said the government remains committed to upholding the constitution and the respecting the independence of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), which has the sole remit for national registration and the holding of elections.

“Under Article 226, Section 6 of the Constitution, they (GECOM) are not subject to the control or direction of any authority of anyone in the conduct of their remit. They are completely independent so no one can tell them what to do,” he said.

The AG was at the time appearing on the National Communications Network radio programme ‘INSIGHT’ and responding to reports that GECOM Chair Justice (ret’d), Claudette Singh had announced that the body will be ready for elections by the end of February 2020.

He reminded that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), in its rulings, had also determined that it could not interfere with GECOM in the execution of its constitutional imperatives.

“So, it is very clear. If GECOM says its February, its February,” the AG emphasised.

Explaining that the September 18 date, which was being pushed by the Opposition, resulted from a consequential order seeking to have the election be held by that date. The AG also reminded that this and other requests made by the Opposition to the CCJ were all refused.

“They said they would not interfere. They would not make coercive orders against the constitutional actors, the president, parliament, GECOM… I believe it is gross disrespect to the CCJ… for them to misrepresent the judgement of the Court.” The September 18 date he added, “is an invention of the political opposition.”

AG Williams further noted that even the case requesting the resignation of Cabinet and the president was dismissed by the CCJ, which clarified that the government would operate in an ‘interim’ mode. This status quo, he said, remains until the conclusion of General and Regional Elections.