First Court action silent on ‘majority’ argument on No Confidence vote
The first court action filed on the No Confidence vote is silent on the argument that more than 33 votes are needed for a majority vote in the 65-seat National Assembly.
Private citizen, Compton Reid moved to the High Court seeking orders to set aside the No Confidence vote of December 21 on the grounds that the vote of Charrandass Persaud was invalid because he holds a Canadian passport.
Further, Reid is seeking an order from the court to “stay” the enforcement of the Parliamentary resolution, namely that elections be held in three months unless an extension is agreed to by the Opposition.
The action was filed by a team of lawyers led by Senior Counsel Rex McKay.
The respondents in the case are Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland, Charrandass Persaud (who is no longer a Parliamentarian after he was recalled by the governing Coalition) and Attorney General Basil Williams.
The Opposition PPP had written to the Chief Justice asking that the party be heard before any order is granted.
The court action weighs heavily on the validity of Persaud’s vote and not the argument the Government raised publicly, namely that a majority in the 65-seat House is not 33 but has to be 34 and more.
In court papers filed in the name of Mr Reid, the argument is that there were only 32 valid votes in favour of the motion and 32 against.
On this basis, the claim is that a majority vote is needed under Article 106 (6) of the Constitution.
Once there is an equal amount of votes in the House, any action is not carried.
Hence, Reid contends that the motion “passed” on December 21 is null, void and of no legal effect. More court action is likely to be filed.