Nandlall pleased with court’s ‘speed’ in addressing challenge to No Confidence motion
Attorney for Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said he is pleased that the High Court is moving to hear and determine the three applications filed challenging the No Confidence motion of December 21.
“…how happy I am that the court determined that the matters need to be heard and determined by every convenient speed,” Nandlall told reporters Tuesday afternoon after Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George-Wiltshire determined that she will make her rulings on all the cases by the end of the month.
“I believe that the timelines given by the court, the sentiments expressed by the court, the way the court dealt with certain applications that were made, all in my mind combine to inform me that the court has a sound appreciation that the constitutional clock of 90 days is ticking,” Nandlall stated.
The passage of the No Confidence motion determined that new elections be called within 90 days.
The motion was passed by a majority vote of 33 members in the 65-seat National Assembly after Government Parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud defected and voted with the Opposition, which has 32 seats in the House.
The Government immediately accepted defeat and suggested it would go ahead with elections.
But it then claimed, using legal arguments, that more than 33 constitutes a majority and that the motion was therefore not carried.
The Government also claimed that the vote of Persaud was invalid because at the time of the vote he was a citizen of both Guyana and Canada.
It asked the Speaker to review and reverse the resolution which declared that the motion had passed.
However, the Speaker, while determining he had the authority to review and reverse any decision, declined to do so in this case and said the court was the best place to decide on the matters raised.
As a result, actions were filed in the High Court seeking to prevent the Parliamentary resolution which declared that the motion was passed from taking effect.
One of the applications was by private citizen Compton Reid, who is seeking a ruling by the court that Persaud’s vote was invalid.
The Government sought a Conservatory Order from the court declaring that the Government should remain in place until the matters are heard and determined by the court.
Attorney General Basil Williams told the Court that he sought the orders out of “excessive caution.”
The Chief Justice stated that the matters will be determined soon so she wouldn’t have to deal with the application for the orders; in any case, she said she didn’t think she would have granted the orders.
She said she wanted to “push ahead” and added that she was “cognizant” that the nation is awaiting the outcome of the matters.
A third application brought before the Chief Justice was from Christopher Ram, who is seeking a ruling from the court that the No Confidence vote was validly and lawfully passed.
The Chief Justice determined that all the cases deal with legal matters that are interlocking and therefore in setting out dates for all submissions, including oral arguments, she set timelines that the matters would be all heard by the end of next week and for her to make a ruling by the end of the month.