CCJ must direct that President proclaims elections date ‘now’ – Attorney Devindra Kissoon
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) must direct that President David Granger proclaims a date for elections “now” as he was duty-bound to do when the No Confidence motion was passed on December 21, attorney Devindra Kissoon argued Thursday.
Kissoon is one of the lawyers representing Christopher Ram in the three consolidated appeals before the Court.
According to Kissoon, with the passage of the No Confidence motion, Article 106 (7) mandates the Government to hold elections within three months.
While he acknowledged the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) runs elections and is an independent body, he said the President forms part of the Government and ought to have complied with the law because “there is no one that is above the law.”
He cited the case of the Attorney General verses Dumas, where the Trinidad Court of Appeal, upheld by the Privy Council, the decision of Justice Peter Jamadar in that “all persons, including a king, a Prime Minister, a President, must abide by the laws of the nation, opining that even a King would be compelled to abide by the rule of law.”
He said that since Guyana’s President is not above the rule of law, the first step in untangling this state of affairs where nothing was done in the 137 days after the passage of the motion, is for the CCJ “to direct the President issue an elections petition, something he was duty-bound and ought to have done.”
Kissoon argued that while GECOM has complete control of the electoral process, it must abide by terms of the constitution.
Further, he said GECOM cannot complain that it has no money to hold elections when the US$26 million it was given in this year’s budget is more than enough to hold the elections.
So, he argued that it was “shocking” that GECOM is now insisting the National Assembly needs to approve funds for elections.
Instead of using the money to prepare for elections, Kissoon charged that GECOM is “attempting to do something that hasn’t been done in recent past,” namely holding house to house registration to produce a new list.
In the circumstances, he said that since GECOM used the 2008 list to produce a voter’s list for the 2011 general elections, then the 2015 general elections and also the Local Government elections of last November, it could very well use the same list to produce a list for the elections demanded by the Constitution on the passage of the No Confidence motion.
He said the laws that govern GECOM gives it the “complete power to remove any difficulty that stands in its way of holding elections.”