Sep 20, 2019 News
The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), yesterday, said it is concerned in the strongest possible term about the out-of-order statement issued by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.
The joint statement pertained to the holding of elections following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) ruling on 18th June 2019 that the 21st December 2018 no-confidence vote was validly passed.
“Nowhere in the judgment handed down by the CCJ on 12th July, pertaining to the 18th June ruling, was the timeline set as September 18th. Nor was the 14th August ruling by acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George-Wiltshire SC set a date as no later than September 18th.”
GTUC said it is erroneous to advise Guyanese and the world that “by surpassing September 18, the Government is currently in breach of the Constitution following its failure to adhere to the decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on 18 June and its subsequent orders.”
This view is not only unfortunate but erroneous, risking the consequence of impugning the erstwhile reputation of the CCJ and the justices who presided over the case. This is treading dangerous waters.
“This nation must have an election consistent with Article 106(7) of the Guyana Constitution. Litigation by the parties on the validity of the no-confidence vote was not settled until June by Guyana’s court of last resort, the CCJ. Whether it could be argued that either or both parties used the court system as delaying tactic is beside the point, for both have exercised the constitutional right to legal justice. This act must be heralded as a progressive step by Guyana to resolve differences in a lawful and orderly manner.”
According to the GTUC, President David Granger cannot issue a date for elections outside of the National Assembly granting the authority to do so since the three months period has lapsed.
“Where the Guyana Elections Commission has today announced its timeline as to its readiness for General and Regional Elections, Government and Opposition must commence engagement not only on an election date but matters of day-to-day governance.”
GTUC said it has taken note of the implied threat that the current situation “also hinders [the US, UK & EU] ability to support Guyana’s development needs” and is most unfortunate given the premise upon which such position has been arrived at.
“Gut feeling, propaganda and/or influence peddling that the election should be held by September 18th without an act of the National Assembly or GECOM’s advising as to its readiness is/are not only reckless but unjust coming from the Western world where ‘lesser’ countries such as ours have been socialised to look up to as the bastion of democracy. If these bodies must take a side it bodes well for nationhood and worldwide comity for such to be consistent with the rule of law.”
The GTUC said that the rule of law must prevail in the west equally as it must in this small resource-rich South American nation called Guyana.
“Both the interim/caretaker President and interim/caretaker Leader of the Opposition must engage on a way forward, including returning to the National Assembly and putting systems in place how government will function in this period until an election is held and a new government is elected or the incumbent re-elected.”
GTUC said it is inviting the western partners to join with the workers of Guyana in calling on both Government and Opposition to respect the ruling of the judiciary and the Constitution as expressed. “Guyana and Guyanese now more than ever need this type of solidarity for interest on rights and the Rule of Law we would like to think is not mutually exclusive but intertwined,” it added.
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