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Mar 29, 2019

Guyana’s Government is Taken to the C.C.J.

Bharrat Jagdeo

We’ve been following regional news; you would know that the government of Guyana was thrown into turmoil last December when a vote of no-confidence was passed in parliament. That motion has been challenged in the various courts and this morning before the Caribbean Court of Justice, a teleconference session was held between attorneys for the Government of Guyana and the opposition People’s Progressive Party.  Led by former President Bharrat Jagdeo, the P.P.P. has filed an appeal with the C.C.J., seeking a reversal of a Court of Appeal decision that the no-confidence motion against the government of President David Granger is invalid.  Now, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay is representing the Government of Guyana in this major case that has constitutional ramifications and could have bearings in the rest of the Commonwealth. Courtenay explained the unique nature of the challenge that is before the C.C.J.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Guyanese Government

“Last year, on the twenty-first of December, the parliament had a vote on a no-confidence motion that was brought by the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, who you will recall was the former president.  He‘s now the Leader of the Opposition and he moved a motion of no confidence, it was debated and voted on.  It received a vote thirty-two to thirty-three.  That thirty-two to thirty-three occurred because one of the government members crossed the floor and voted with the opposition.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives declared that that no-confidence motion had passed.  The government, as you know President Granger is the president of Guyana.  The prime minister and members of the cabinet have all said: one – that that was not a valid passing of the no-confidence motion and their reason for saying so is that there are sixty-five members in the National Assembly and that if you are to have a majority of all present, then when you divide sixty-five by two, you get thirty-two point five.  You round that up and you get thirty-three and therefore you have to add one to make it thirty-four.  Since it only received thirty-three votes, the government is arguing that the motion did not pass.  The high court said that yes, thirty-three was sufficient and it passed.  The Court of Appeal, last week, ruled that the Chief Justice was wrong and that it needed thirty-four to pass.  The Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo has now taken it to the Caribbean Court of Justice and I have been engaged by the Government of Guyana to represent them in the CCJ in defending the position that the no-confidence motion did not pass.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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