Court action filed to compel President, Cabinet to resign

first_imgFormer Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall has approached the court to compel the David Granger-led coalition Cabinet to stop meeting and resign.The proceedings were filed on Monday. However, a date is yet to be fixed for hearing of the Fixed Date Application.In the court documents seen by Guyana Times, Nandlall is asking for an order compelling the Cabinet, including the President, to resign consequent of the Government being defeated by the vote of a no-confidence on December 21, 2018— which is in accordance with Article 106 (6) of the Guyana Constitution. He is also seeking a Mandatory Order compelling the Cabinet, including the President, to give effect to the resignation of the Cabinet, including the President, which occurred by operation of law following the successful passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM).The former AG is also seeking a Conservatory Order, or an order restraining the Cabinet, inclusive of the President, from meeting, making decisions, or performing the functions of Cabinet, consequent of the successful passage of the motion as outlined in the Constitution.Article 106 (6) states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by a vote of majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly”.In his affidavit, Nandlall posited that as a politician and elected representative of Guyanese, he has a public, parliamentary, political and constitutional duty to ensure that the laws of Guyana are obeyed and complied with, especially by the Executive.“I file these proceedings in the discharge of those duties and am clothed with the requisite locus standi to do so,” the Opposition Member of Parliament stated.Nandlall pointed out that provisions of Article 106 (6) clearly mandates and compels the Cabinet, inclusive of the President, to resign once it is defeated by a vote of no-confidence.However, nine months after the passage of the motion, Cabinet has failed and neglected to resign in accordance with the unambiguous prescription and mandate of Constitution, and continues to function in contravention of Article 106 (6).He noted that in January 2019, multiple legal challenges were launched against the validity, legality and constitutionality of the said No-Confidence Motion, and despite the courts— including the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)— ruling that “upon the passage of this motion of no confidence in the Government, the clear provisions of Article 106 immediately became engaged” as well as a recent letter from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who requested the President and his Cabinet to resign and dissolve Parliament, the Head of State did not accede to the request.“It must be emphasised that the Leader of the Opposition did not request the President to resign from the Office of the President but to simply resign as a Member and the Chairman of Cabinet. Since then, numerous Members of the Government, inclusive of the Attorney General (Basil Williams), have publicly stated that the Cabinet, inclusive of the President, will not resign, thereby continuing to perpetuate a breach of Article 106(6) of the Constitution,” he outlinedTo this end, Nandlall reminded the Court that it is the guardian of the Constitution, and has an inherent duty to grant appropriate remedies whenever the Constitution is likely to be, is being or has been contravened.The People’s Progressive Party Opposition, of which Nandlall is an Executive Member, has been contending that Guyana is in a constitutional crisis as the government continues to delay the hosting of early elections which was triggered by the passage of the NCM.According to Article 106 (7), “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”.This meant elections were to be held since March 21, 2019. However, with the legal challenges, that timeline was on pause but was subsequently reinstated after the July 18, 2019 CCJ ruling, which validated the passage of the motion.Against this backdrop, the Opposition was pushing for a September 18, 2019 polling day. But President Granger had insisted that he cannot set a date without first being advised by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on its preparedness to host General and Regional Elections.GECOM had come under heavy criticism for deliberately delaying the elections by going ahead with the controversial House-to-House Registration. The constitutionality of this exercise was then challenged in court.In fact, Chief Justice Roxane George earlier this month ruled that the conduct of House-to-House is not unconstitutional or illegal. However, she noted that GECOM cannot operate as it would in a normal elections cycle. Given that the NCM triggered early elections, the Chief Justice had stated that there are other methods that can be used to sanitise the voters’ list in a timely manner, such as Claims and Objections.She had also ruled that it would be unconstitutional for GECOM to remove qualified persons already on the voters’ list. The Opposition had said this was a signification victory since the House-to-House exercise was aimed at creating a new National Register of Registrants (NRR) Database.Nevertheless, the Justice Claudette Singh-led Elections Commission on Tuesday announced that the registration exercise would be scrapped at the end of this month, and the information gathered thus far will be merged with the existing databaseIt was noted that GECOM would then move to an extensive Claims and Objections exercise before a Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) is extracted.President David Grangerlast_img read more

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