Bar Association says Gov’t operating outside of the rule of law

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The Guyana Bar Association on Friday condemned the Government for failing to hold general and regional elections within the period mandated by Article 106(7) of the constitution, which requires elections within three months of the passage of a No-Confidence motion.

“By failing to abide by the clear and unambiguous terms of the Constitution, the Government of Guyana has abdicated its responsibility, violated the Constitution, is operating outside of the rule of law and in breach of internationally recognised standards of democracy,” the Bar Association said in a statement.

The Bar Council of the Association pointed out that in its judgment in the consolidated No Confidence cases on July 12 last, the Caribbean Court of Justice said that the meaning of the constitutional provisions requiring elections is clear and it placed the responsibility of honouring those provisions on the constitutional actors in Guyana.

The Bar Council noted that while the Court did not order elections, it expressed its expectation that constitutional responsibilities would have been exercised with integrity in keeping with the unambiguous provisions of the Constitution bearing in mind that the no-confidence motion was validly passed as long ago as December 21, 2018.

“The constitutional duty and responsibility of the President was to fix a date for elections within the three-month period set out in the Constitution in the absence of a Parliamentary extension of that period, which extension the Bar Council notes was not sought and or obtained before the period expired.”

The Bar Association said the constitutional duty and responsibility of the Guyana Elections Commission was to be ready to administer and supervise elections within the time encompassed by the three-month period so as to comply with the Constitution.

On Thursday, the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission advised the President that the Commission would be ready to hold elections by the end of February.

The President has not made any statement on the issue since.

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