Jan 15, 2019 News
Attorney-at-Law Saphier Husain of Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, who says he is the leader of the National Independent Party which contested the 1997 and 2015 General Elections, has petitioned the High Court to join the proceedings filed by one Compton Reid, against the no-confidence which was passed in the National Assembly.
Reid is asking the court for a declaration that the no-confidence motion against the Government be quashed on the ground that expelled Alliance for Change (AFC) parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud, who voted with the Opposition, has Canadian citizenship.
Reid is asking for a declaration that the vote cast by Persaud is null, void and of no legal effect, and by reason the unlawful “yes” vote cast by Persaud, the No Confidence Motion was not passed.
In the Fixed Date Application (FDA) which was filed yesterday, Husain is also asking the court to submit point in limine and any such order and other reliefs that are deemed fit by the court.
In his grounds in support of his application, Husain said that he has been in practice for over 30 years and has developed expertise in Constitutional Law. He said that the decision made by the court in the challenge brought by Reid will affect the next General Elections which his party wishes to contest.
According to him, he has been a part of numerous Constitutional and electoral matters in Guyana including the petition of Esther Perreira against the 1997 elections, the Herdmanston Accord interpretation of Article 162 of the Constitution of Guyana in 1992 and several other Constitutional issues.
Though he is not a Member of Parliament, Husain said that his party received votes from persons throughout Guyana in the last General Elections.
The Applicant said than once the court allows him to join Reid’s challenge he intends to submit that the High Court lacks jurisdiction to hear/grant a FDA under the New Civil Procedure Rules 2016.
He cited several orders, which according to him, are pursuant to Articles 64 and 163 of the Constitution of Guyana and rules made under the Constitution in the Election Validity Act cap 1:06 of the Laws of Guyana.
Husain added that his application refers to (i) the qualification of a member of the National Assembly and (ii) the disqualification of a member of the National Assembly and (iii) the qualification for a nomination of a candidate at a General and Regional Election which are requiring the court to act in excess/lack of jurisdiction because of Articles 64 and 163 of the Constitution of Guyana and the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act Rules.
According to him, Article 64 states, “All questions as to membership of the National Assembly shall be determined by the High Court in accordance with the provisions of Article 163.”
He stated that Article 163 states, (1) Subject to the provisions of this article, the High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine any question: (a) regarding the qualification of any person to be elected as a member of the National Assembly, (b) any member of the National Assembly is required under the provisions of Article 156 (2) and (3) to cease to exercise any of his or her functions as a member thereof.
Last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo asked the Court to be joined in the matter, since he is also a party of interest. In his application, Jagdeo noted that he wants to join the proceedings because “the main thrust of the proceedings filed” by Reid is to invalidate the no-confidence motion and to ultimately prevent its constitutional consequences” – resignation of the President and Cabinet, calling of general elections in 90 days or having the House extend that period by a two-thirds majority.
Jagdeo says that it is imperative that he “be permitted to join these proceedings not only to protect its integrity, but in order to protect and preserve the will of a majority of the elected members who voted in favour of the said no-confidence motion and also to protect and preserve the sanctity of proceedings in the National Assembly as well as the Constitution of Guyana”.
Further, the Opposition Leader said the matter raises not only issues of paramount constitutional and parliamentary significance, but also fundamental political issues, which may have far-reaching implications for national democracy, peace, order and good governance in Guyana.
This matter comes up for hearing this afternoon before Chief Justice Roxane George.
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