On Wednesday, February 20, Appeal Court Judge Rishi Persaud will commence hearing applications for interim stays of the rulings handed down by the Chief Justice in relation to three matters concerning the No-Confidence Motion, which was passed against government on December 21, 2018 in the National Assembly.
On January 31, last, Chief Justice Roxane George ruled that the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed since its resolution was carried by a majority of 33 to 32 elected members of the National Assembly, and this should have caused the immediate resignation of Cabinet, including the President, in accordance with Article 106 (7) of the Constitution of Guyana.
The, Government, however, maintains otherwise.
The Attorney General, also Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams contends that the No-Confidence Motion was not validly passed since it needed the support of 34 members, which according to him, is an “absolute majority.” He has since appealed the judgments of the Chief Justice.
Williams has since moved to the Court of Appeal where he is also requesting a Conservatory Order, preserving the previously existing state of affairs that the President, Cabinet and all Ministers of the Government remain in office until the hearing and determination of the appeal.
In a summons requesting the stay, State Counsel Raeanna Clarke, said, “It is contended that the effect of the ruling of the Chief Justice that Cabinet ceased with immediate effect on the night of the no-confidence motion on 21st December 2018.
This will mean that the government will be unable to introduce any financial bills for passage because, in accordance with Article 171 of the Constitution. These bills require the recommendation and or consent of the Cabinet signified by a minister.
“In these circumstances, the government will be unable to fund the preparation and holding of elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) if the effect of the ruling of the Chief Justice is not stayed as prayed for herein.”
According to Clarke, “I am advised by my Attorneys-at-law and verily believe that the Conservatory order is necessary to preserve the status quo ante as the period for the hearing and determination of the matter may expire before that time prescribed in Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, which requires that the President and Government remain in office and hold elections within three months.”
Clarke said, “That I will contend that the appeal has good prospects of success and the Honourable Court ought to grant a stay and a conservatory order in order to ensure that if the appeal is successful it is not rendered nugatory.”
Clarke, in the affidavit, said that the Court of Appeal has held that it has jurisdiction to grant a stay of execution of a declaratory judgment in matters that would affect the public interest.