‘CCJ cannot lock up the President or force Gov’t to obey orders’ – Attorney Kamal Ramkarran
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is set to give its much anticipated consequential orders on Monday but Attorney-at-law, Kamal Ramkarran has noted that the court cannot force the Government to obey those orders.
Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘CCJ’s rulings and their implications for democracy in Guyana’ on Friday evening, Ramkarran said while the court has orders of contempt which gives it certain powers, “the CCJ is not going to lock up the President of this country…it is never going to happen because there has to be some sort of distinction between the court and the State.”
However, he said it must be understood the extent of which failure to adhere to the orders will affect Guyana internationally.
“What happens though, is that everyone in the world will know this is a country where the rule of law is not respected, the orders of court are not obeyed and that says something about who you are as a country so it does have implications for democracy,” he said during his address to the gathering at the Cheddi Jagan Reading and Research Centre.
He added that “you’re no longer a democratic country if you don’t obey the orders of the court.”
Ramkarran represented Christopher Ram who filed an application with the CCJ to reverse or set aside the Guyana Appeal Court ruling that the December 21st No-Confidence motion was invalidly passed.
The court handed down its judgement on Tuesday last in which it ruled that the motion was properly passed against the Government.
The CCJ asked the Government and Opposition to meet and find a consensus on the way forward before Monday to deliver its consequential orders.
Former Attorney General and Executive Member of the PPP, Anil Nandlall on Friday evening disclosed that the Opposition has submitted a list of proposals to the court.
He said the party’s proposal includes requests for a timeframe to be given for the holding of general elections and a timeframe for the appointment of a new chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) since the CCJ nullified the appointment of the chair of the elections body.
However, Nandlall said the party is also “asking for a date to go back to the court if orders that the court makes are not implemented.”
“From all indications we will have a struggle, that is why,” he said.
President David Granger has since invited the Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo to a meeting to discuss the political situation and the orders of the CCJ.
The PPP is also requesting that the court orders that the list of voters which expired at the end of April 2019 be used to hold elections. If this order is granted, it means there will be no house-to-house registration as is being advocated for by the Government.
The APNU+AFC Coalition is insisting on house-to-house registration as it argues that many persons will not be allowed to vote but Nandlall said, “the list we are arguing for is the one which was valid at March 21st, any other list will be subject to jiggery- pokery” –an informal British term meaning deceitful or dishonest behaviour.
Also delivering remarks on Friday evening was political activist, Christopher Ram, who pointed to the Government’s utterances over the past few days as “reckless and undemocratic.”
He said it is a cause for “great alarm” that Government Ministers would make remarks calling for war, referring to comments made by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan during a recent outreach to Bartica, Region Seven.
“We have a damaged image and we’re destroying our international reputation,” he noted.