This lady by the market was speaking loudly; she obviously had something to say and wanted others to hear. “This man Charrandass cause real confusion; first is the resignation of the Cabinet, then is elections in three months and now four Ministers gone.”The confusion was not the making of Charrandass. It was the making of an obstinate and obdurate government, hell bent on not conceding that it had fallen and needed to call elections within three months as is the convention after the successful passage of the no confidence motion.
All the fancy arithmetic and legal arguments could have been avoided had the government continued to accept what it had accepted on the night when the no confidence motion was passed.
Reality sunk home overnight. The government woke up the next morning and realized the gravity of what had happened to it. It began to see the writing on the wall. It believed, and probably still does, that it faces defeat in any election, this year or next year. It believes that the trouncing it suffered in local government elections in 2018 signals that it was unable to reverse the widespread disaffection of the public.
It has attempted to go out and reach the people but this plan is not working. The public knows it is being wooed because of elections.
People have had enough of the failed promises and the inept performance of the government. The government has been below par; it has lacked the ideas which would have allowed it to come across looking and smelling different from the PPP.
Desperate, however, to hold on to power the government decided that it had no choice but to argue for the invalidation of the no confidence motion on the ground that Charrandass Persaud was a dual citizen who had sworn allegiance to a foreign state. It should have foreseen the consequences of that maneuver. It should have predicted that this would have come back to haunt it.
It should have anticipated that it would have failed to convince the court with this argument, even more so since it had benefitted over the past three plus years from the same vote which is wanted to render illegal.
As it stands now both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have pronounced on the issue of dual citizenship. They have both ruled that it is unconstitutional for the persons who hold dual citizenship to sit in the National Assembly.
There is still another link in the appeal chain – the Caribbean Court of Justice. But it now seems clear that the government will no longer be seeking to invalidate the no confidence motion by arguing that Charrandass’s vote was unlawful. The government will no doubt try to have the ‘ majority’ verdict of the Court of Appeal upheld on the basis that 34 votes were needed instead of 33.
The government, however, needs to have parliament resume because it has financial Bills to lay before the House. The Guyana Elections Commission needs the money to conduct house to house registration which will give the government a lease on life until next April.
But the courts have ruled that those of its members who have dual citizenship cannot return. And the AFC, surprisingly, seems to have taken a principled rather than an opportunistic position that one of its members who is a dual citizen would not be returning.
So days after one APNU member claimed that he was not illegal in so far as the National Assembly is concerned, we have had a statement in which it was stated that the resignation of four members of parliament had been accepted.
By implication those persons cannot sit as Ministers. Of course, the President can only accept the resignation of his Ministers. He cannot accept the resignation of these persons as members of parliament. That is a matter for the National Assembly. So for all intents and purposes, the four dual citizens are no longer Ministers – by operation of law they resigned.
However, it is now being hinted that there may be a role for these persons within the government. The government should cease this horseplay. If the Ministers have resigned, they should not have any immediate role within the government since this would convey the impression that they are still holding their portfolios through proxies.
After the Chief Justice’s ruling, the government substituted a plenary of Ministers for Cabinet, an act which did not conceal its attitude towards the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
If the government attempts to have those resigned Ministers perform roles in the very Ministries which they headed, it would amount to a violation of the spirit of the Constitution. And that attempt to play fast and loose with the Constitution is what, in the first place, got the government into the noose which it now finds itself in. Not Charrandass’s vote.
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