Court refuses to grant interim order to keep Cabinet in place, preserve status quo

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Court of Appeal Judge Rishi Persaud on Thursday afternoon refused to grant an “interim” conservatory order and stay in the implementation of the High Court decision upholding the December 21 No Confidence vote which toppled the Coalition Government and demanded elections in three months.

The interim order was sought by the Attorney General Basil Williams at the Court of Appeal after parties in the three appeals filed against the Chief Justice’s ruling agreed to submit all written arguments and then present oral arguments on March 15. The three-month constitutional deadline for elections would expire six days after that hearing.

Once he hears the oral arguments, the Judge said he would move to grant an “expeditious” decision and therefore he was not “minded” to grant an interim stay.

As dictated by the Constitution, only a two-thirds vote of the National Assembly can extend the date for elections beyond three months after the passage of the No Confidence motion.

The President has invited the Opposition Leader to a meeting next Wednesday but Mr Jagdeo has said he would only go to the meeting if a date for elections is put on the agenda.

If no resolution is reached and the time passes for the holding of elections, the Attorney General denied that there would be a constitutional crisis, hanging that argument on what Article 106 (7) of the Constitution says: that the President and the Government remain in place until the holding of elections.

However, the constitutional provision just before that, Article 106 (6), provides for those elections by which the Government, with three-months, or a longer period agreed to by a vote of two-thirds of the National Assembly.

Anil Nandlall, Attorney for the Opposition Leader, said the court proceedings have become academic and have lost their efficacy, “because of the 21 March the constitutional timeframe would have expired and there is nothing the court can do after that.”

He declared: “The court can’t reverse something that would have occurred already.

“So, I think the court proceedings have already begun to a waste of time, it is unfortunate for me to say so, but that’s the reality.

“After the 21st of March the timeframe would have expired; the court can’t stop the time from running after that.”

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