Will the CCJ Stand up for Justice in Guyana

Will the CCJ Stand up for Justice in Guyana
Photo : The Honourable Mr. Justice Jacob Wit

I think the CCJ will stand up for justice and reverse the “jokey ruling” of two judges of Guyana’s Court of Appeal that ruled that 33 is not a majority of 65. The five honorable CCJ Justices that heard the case a week ago is likely to stand up as the collective conscience of the judicial system in Guyana and reversed the ruling of the two judges in Guyana that have made the court system the laughing stock of the region.

That was not a serious judgment - it was a violation of the MP's right to vote freely for or against a motion. The Guyanese judges misunderstand what is a simple and an absolute majority. No judge of the CCJ would wish to taint his or her reputation to rule that the no confidence motion was not passed because 33 is not a majority (both simple and absolute) of 65. And the court will also not pay much heed to the argument that Charandass Persaud’s vote was unconstitutional. It was Charandass vote that led to 33 for the no confidence motion against the government that triggered the constitutional interpretation of what is a majority and dual citizenship of a Member of Parliament (MP).

The government contends that Charandass is a dual citizen and his vote against the government cannot be counted. But four other members of the government are also dual citizens. What happens to their vote? Should they be counted? The constitution is very clear – dual citizens cannot be MPs. But the rule has not been enforced. For decades, dual citizens have been serving as MPs. The constitution states notwithstanding anyone sitting illegally in parliament and voting, i.e., dual citizenship, their vote would be considered as constitutional and legal. So the government’s argument is weak and will be rejected by the court. The other issue before the court is whether the President can ignore the constitution on appointees and choose his own person as Gecom chair. The constitution is clear on the issue – the President must appoint a nominee of the Opposition. The CCJ will rule that Granger does not have the power of unilateral appointment of the elections commission chair.

The court will force him to choose a nominee of Jagdeo. But unless the court gives a specific timeframe for an appointment, Granger will delay replacing the Gecom Chair. The real question is when will the court rule on the two matters? It could not take so long to render simple verdict. The CCJ may go delay the ruling out of politics – don’t rain on the parade of the government celebrating independence on May 26. So the ruling could come next week. Attachments area