Wednesday acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George-Wiltshire SC ruled on the case brought by the Opposition regarding the resignation of the Cabinet following a successful no-confidence vote it is time to restore sanity and decency in political discourse and action. The CJ reiterated the Judgement handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its Consequential Order of 12th July, 2019, notably Item 8, which can be sourced here:- https://ccj.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-CCJ-14-AJ.pdf
Going by the Canadian application of a caretaker government, its government website advises: “The caretaker period begins when either the Government loses a vote of non-confidence or Parliament has been dissolved (either as a result of the Prime Minister asking for dissolution, or because of an election date set by legislation). It ends when a new government is sworn-in, or when an election result returning an incumbent government is clear.
Exercising ‘restraint’ does not mean that government is prohibited from making decisions or announcements, or otherwise taking action, during the caretaker period. To the contrary, the routine operation of government must continue and necessary business must be transacted. In the event of emergencies, such as natural disasters, the government must have a free hand to take appropriate action to ensure that the public interest, notably the safety and security of Canadians, is preserved.”
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All are encouraged to take time out, reflect on and soak in the CJ’s ruling that the CCJ in its June 18th decision made it “…evident that the effect of the NCM was the immediate resignation of Cabinet, but the Court clearly stated that notwithstanding this, the tenure in office of the Cabinet, including the President, as well as Government as a whole, ‘is on a different footing’– is that of a caretaker mode consequent to the passage of the said NCM.”
Thus the question of whether the government is legal or “illegal” has been unequivocally answered where there was doubt or the work of political mischief. The government is legal. Society must no longer give voice/credence to the PPP yelling government is “illegal.” Going forward it is one thing repeating the PPP’s mischief but most import to let it be known what the truth is.
It is now of import to steer society back to truth and justice. The media is being called on to do serious introspection of the role they are playing in upholding these values. Some sections of the media have failed us miserably. If we put Guyana first and let the chips fall where they may, it is what it is. Blame is also apportioned to the government for not helping society by not pushing back on the PPP lies which is helping in the destruction of society and not addressing these issues.
Even as the PPP and some engage in deception the media-as the fourth estate, the major purveyor of information- carrying a responsibility to help shape Guyana and build cohesive society, for peace, stability and the common good have a responsibility to remind us of the truth. The situation also reiterates the point of relying on primary sourced information and avoiding the temptation of being misled.
It may be hard to quantify/qualify as of now how much damage sections of the media have done to this nation when it comes to building a society. Even if they have a horse in the race they have a moral responsibility to society not only to those who spend their advertising dollars but those who read them, for failing to do so would be contributing to the political bullyism we have been witnessing.
It is hoped the international community that threatened sanctions based on deception, perhaps misunderstanding of the court ruling and high priced lobbying misrepresentation, has taken note of the CJ’s ruling. It is hoped the CJ’s pronouncement that the Consequential Order be “read dispassionately and objectively” is taken seriously. This is a position I have been calling for from day one. Had we done this it would have eliminated much of the ugly tension and division that have surfaced since the no-confidence issue.
I recognise that even if the PPP knew this was about PR mileage they have already had their supporters misled and channelling the distorted mantra. Clearly some have not taken the time to read the ruling or deliberately set out to mislead by applying their own interpretation. We have to reset our relationship with each other, be we political ally, foe or neutral. Efforts have to be made to stop normalising conduct in a diverse nation such as ours that can pose threat to our collective stability and well-being.
Finally, there is still need to give effect to Item 7 in the CCJ Order that “Article 106 of the Constitution invests in the President and the National Assembly (and implicitly in GECOM), responsibilities that impact on the precise timing of the elections….”
The nation is reminded that Kaieteur News August 3, 2019 reports in an article titled ‘Elections date long gone…’ that the CJ basing her argument on the CCJ’s ruling reportedly expressed, “we are supposedly in a period of an extension for the timeframe for holding elections, but that extension has not been agreed on.” The CJ is quoted directly as saying, “We are still waiting on the National Assembly to meet.” It is time for the National Assembly to meet, discharge its constitutional duty and uphold the Court’s ruling.
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