Opposition demands President’s resignation in formal letter

first_imgAdherence to Constitution, CCJ rulings…calls for dissolution of Parliament, elections dateIn the wake of the coalition Government’s reluctance to dissolve Parliament and set an election date in accordance with the Constitution and recent court rulings, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has written President David Granger demanding his resignation.President David GrangerIn the letter, which was seen by this publication, the Opposition Leader reminds the President that since July 12, 2019, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered its consequential orders in the matters of Zulkficar Mustapha v the AG and others, Christopher Ram v the AG and others, Bharrat Jagdeo v the AG and others and Charrandas Persaud v Compton Reid and others.He listed several conditions for the President to accede to, including that the President and his Cabinet immediately resign and that the President issue a proclamation dissolving Parliament. He also called for the President to fix a date for the next general and regional elections, not beyond September 18, 2019.Jagdeo also reminded the President that CCJ President, Justice Adrian Saunders had said that when the No-Confidence Motion was passed on December 21, 2019, Article 106 of the Constitution had immediately been activated.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoArticle 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”.Meanwhile, Article 106 (7) states: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”.Jagdeo also cited the Judge’s ruling, which states that there was no need for the Court to gloss over Article 106’s provisions but it is, in fact, the responsibility of the constitutional actors to be faithful to the rule of law and operate within parameters of the Constitution.“Upon the passage of a vote of no confidence, the Article requires the resignation of the Cabinet including the President. The Article goes on to state, among other things, that notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and that an election shall be held within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine.”Further, the CCJ President noted that with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) also being responsible for the conduct that elections, it, therefore, means that the elections body “too must abide by the provisions of the Constitution”.He went on to point out that elections should have been held on March 21, 2019, following the December passage of the Opposition sponsored motion but that process was on “pause” pending the legal proceedings. That process, he added, however, was no longer on pause following the Court’s June 18, 2019 ruling, which upheld the validity of the No-Confidence Motion and thus triggering the need for fresh elections. This means that General and Regional Elections would have to be held on or before September 18, 2019, to be consistent with the three months’ constitutional deadline.PressureThis latest move from the parliamentary Opposition comes as pressure continues to mount on the Government to comply with the Constitution of Guyana. Recently, representatives of the international community had urged the country’s political players to act swiftly and in compliance with the Constitution, as ordered by the CCJ.In a joint statement issued last Monday, members of the diplomatic community in Guyana, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union, stated that they have taken note of the CCJ’s pronouncements on July 12.They said it is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by the CCJ’s ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. The diplomats furthered urged that this adherence be done expeditiously.“The Caribbean Court of Justice – Guyana’s Supreme Court – has spoken. It is important for the rule of law that all invoked actors abide by its ruling and the relevant provisions of the Constitution. We urge everyone to do so expeditiously,” the diplomats said in the joint communique.This follows statements issued by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), which also urged compliance with the Court and Constitution.Dissolving Parliament is a necessary step before calling an election. But so far, the President has made no moves to do this.last_img read more