The appeal in relation the Presidential Term limit is set to be heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice, (CCJ) on March 12 at 10:00 am.
The Court had previously set a tentative date for the hearing. However, the CCJ Website now has the hearing listed for March 12. The closely watched case was initially filed on behalf of Georgetown resident, Cedric Richardson, in February 2014.
Richardson had argued that the Act 17 of 2001, which was passed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly, was unconstitutionally curtailed, and restricted his sovereign and democratic rights and freedom as a qualified elector to elect former President Bharrat Jagdeo as the Executive President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
He also wanted the court to determine whether the amendment with a referendum should not have been held, instead of the two-thirds majority in the National Assembly having the powers to decide to limit the number of terms.
After several months in the court, former Chief Justice Ian Chang ruled in favour of Richardson’s argument, setting the stage for Jagdeo to have a third term as President.
However, the decision did not sit well with Attorney General, Basil Williams and the APNU/AFC Administration. Williams moved to the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision.
The Court of Appeal subsequently upheld a decision by former Chief Justice Ian Chang, ruling that the two-term presidential limit is unconstitutional.
Former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh was supported by then Justice of Appeal, B.S. Roy in upholding Justice Chang’s decision. However, then Chief Justice (Ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who also sat on the panel, gave a dissenting judgment.
With a decision of two to one, the court dismissed the appeal made by Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams to overturn the judgment of the former Chief Justice (CJ), which essentially stated that an elected President can run for more than two terms.
The State later mounted a challenge to CCJ following a ruling of the Court Of Appeal which upheld a decision by former Chief Justice Ian Chang, which rendered the two-term presidential limit unconstitutional.
As the case reaches the CCJ, two Barbadian attorneys are likely to be part of the legal team representing Guyana. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams S.C recently spoke of the likelihood of Government retaining the services of two Barbadian Queen’s Counsel, Ralph Thorne and Hal Gollop.
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