The Court of Appeal has ruled that the no-confidence vote (NCV) was not valid. The APNU+AFC government is legal up to the 2020 Elections. But, there is a but, because the final court is yet to pronounce, that is the CCJ. Here is where things get interesting.
When the High Court decided that the NCV was valid and elections must be held and did not grant a stay, the APNU+AFC leadership did not act on the court’s decision. Even when Court of Appeal judge, Rishi Persaud denied a stay, the status quo was maintained by the political leadership of the government.
Now with the appellate court striking down the NCV, will the president still identify a date in 2019 for elections? Will they say that they have won, there was no successful NCV and therefore it is business as usual? If they take this direction, then they are ignoring the CCJ angle. What if the CCJ decided that the December 21 NCV was valid? Here is where Granger’s character will be tested.
If the APNU+AFC leadership didn’t accept the High Court’s ruling and did not comply with the three months’ requirement to hold elections because there was an appeal, why should this same leadership preserve the status quo, knowing it could lose because the final appeal is yet to be made?
My point is APNU+AFC cannot say we did not comply with the Chief Justice’s ruling because there was an appeal, but we will adhere to the judgment of the appellate court when they know that an appeal is around the corner.
However, you look at it, the APNU+AFC is on safer ground now that it has won round two. But this country will be in trouble if the CCJ takes a long time to hear the case and when it does, the judgment upholds the Chief Justice’s ruling. From this day onwards, without even a moment’s delay, GECOM should start preparing for elections, whenever it comes.
The new ruling allows the government to convene parliament, and it should do so immediately to provide GECOM with whatever it wants, but more importantly, to deal with the question of dual citizenship. The Attorney-General did not appeal the Chief Justice’s decision that the constitution disapproves of dual citizens, therefore members with this kind of status cannot sit. What it means is that morality should be on show for the whole world to see when parliament convenes.
The PPP and APNU should now inform the head of the list, Professor Harold Lutchman, that they are replacing their foreign citizens in the House. The Opposition Leader has stated that he is willing to remove his quota of dual citizens. APNU has not said one word on the matter, which makes its conduct questionable. It was the APNU+AFC leadership of the Government that requested the court to decide on the legality of dual citizenship. The court has so ruled. It would be moral profanity on both, the opposition and APNU+AFC, if the National Assembly is convened and these dual nationals take their seat.
The Court of Appeal ruling should galvanize major parties to return to the House and fulfill immediately, the promises they made to the people of Guyana – constitutional reform. The CCJ’s decision in the presidential term limit case means that there are sections of the constitution that can be changed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.
One of the promises made by both the PNC and AFC in the 2015 campaign is that there will be changes to the anti-narcotic law to dissolve mandatory prison for possession of small amounts of ganja. In fact, while the court was giving its decision of the NCV, magistrate Leron Daly jailed another youth found guilty of possessing a small amount of marijuana.
It is left to be seen if the ruling coalition will now wallow in prodigious comfort and cease their election campaign. The APNU+AFC bandwagon has been campaigning frenetically the past month, targeting Amerindian areas. The subtitle of this column is, “Who’s Afraid of Lennox Shuman?” The Chronicle on Thursday carried a photograph of Volda Lawrence speaking to three youths. The background tells you she was in a low-income enclave. What did Volda have to say and what did the three young men tell her?
If you look closely at the impressions on the faces of the youths, they didn’t seem elated. That is how I read it. So will the APNU+AFC throw back and continue in their old ways or will the countless meet-the-people tours continue, where goodies are shared out as if a hurricane struck and wiped out a poor village?
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