Leader of the National Independent Party (NIP), Saphier Husain-Subedar, has taken on the government on its announcement to hold early elections next year.
According to the lawyer, the holding of General Election between March 15 and March 31, 2015, is not a prediction but a legal and Constitutional position. As such, Government is bound by law to call elections.
“Where the President of the Republic of Guyana announced earlier that he intends to dissolve Parliament under Article 70 (2) of the Constitution and to hold election within three months after the dissolution in accordance with Article 61 of the Constitution in January, it amounts to an undertaking and a Presidential promise. Consequently the President is bound to call elections within his stipulation and he is bound by the rule of law,” Husain-Subedar said.
NIP has signaled its intentions to contest the General and Regional Elections and also Local Government polls when they are called.
Husain-Subedar has been known to take on Constitutional cases. The most recent one has been a decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs demanding that new passport applicants submit birth certificates issued within six months of the application. The lawyer managed to get the courts to overturn the policy, earlier this year.
With regard to the decision by President Ramotar, the lawyer said that the law addresses the issue of expectations by the public when statements are made by an executive.
The affected person or parties could move to the court to compel the executive official to honor the promises made in the statements.
NIP has used the President’s statement on elections and has since started campaigning for General Elections, as a result incurring expenses. Also the party has notified the Guyana Election Commission that it will be participating in the polls.
There has been legal precedence as was evidenced by the authority of R. V. Liverpool Corporation, ex parte Liverpool Taxi Fleet Operators’ Association,  2 QB 299 (CA) as per Lord Denning. “This modern doctrine prevents officials from making irresponsible statements.”
Husain-Subedar also referred to the authority of the cases set out in Kenneth Wyndham Barnwell and the Attorney General of Guyana by the Honourable Mr. A.F.R. Bishop, Chief Justice and the Honourable Mr. C.C. Kennard, Justice of Appeal. “This doctrine applies to the Republic of Guyana and can be easily extended to the executive in the circumstance.”
The lawyer also argued that in view of the fact that President Donald Ramotar has prorogued Parliament; the highest authority of the land then is absorbed by the High Court – which under the Constitution is the inherent jurisdiction.
“Therefore, the National Independent Party intends to move to the High Court to give direction to the Attorney General to advise the President that his failure if at all to set a date for election in early January would be a breach of rule of law which is now entrenched in the Constitution.”
A breach of the rule of law would show that the President has violated his oath of office and continue a “state of dictatorship and minority government”, the lawyer said.
The NIP leader also argued that the criteria of recognition of a state ceased to exist on the prorogation of Parliament.
“The National Independent Party calls upon all the foreign states and more particularly the United States of America, dominion of Canada and Great Britain to withdraw their recognition of the present Government during the period of prorogation…”
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