He said his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) would continue to demand that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) be in a state of readiness for early polls because the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) could soon decide whether Friday’s decision by the Appeal Court that last December’s no-confidence motion needed 34 instead of 33 votes was valid.
In a pre-recorded video statement, The former Guyanese leader said the matter would be resolved “definitively” in the CCJ, the next level of appeal. At the same time, he welcomed the Guyana Court of Appeal ruling, saying it would be dealt with swiftly by the Trinidad-headquartered CCJ.
“We will continue to argue for GECOM to be prepared for early elections because there is a great possibility that this adverse ruling could be overturned at the CCJ and if its overturned there and they are not prepared, then that would mean further delays in Guyana in conducting elections so we would be pressing for GECOM to continue their preparation for early elections,” Jagdeo said in a video release.
He said if the CCJ upholds the Guyana Court of Appeal’s calculation, then there would be no election.
Jagdeo expressed concern about the majority decision by the Court of Appeal that the no-confidence motion was not validly passed by 33 of the 65 votes in the National Assembly.
“No strange logic, no strange mathematics can change what is in the Constitution. The Constitution says the majority of all elected members of the National Assembly – and there are 65 of them – and therefore the majority has to be 33,” Jagdeo said, adding that ‘absolute majority’ was a “strange importation” into Guyana’s constitution.
Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justice Dawn Gregory accepted the arguments of government's lawyer, Queen’s Counsel Dr. Francis Alexis that 32.5 (half of the 65-seat National Assembly) is rounded up to 33 and an absolute majority is acquired by adding one to make it 34 votes. In that regard, Jagdeo said his party would respect the Court of Appeal’s decision.
“We’re respectful of the ruling of the court. We have always been respectful of the rulings of the court. One of the reasons we joined the CCJ is to have this external review and we hope that we would be able to convince the CCJ, and we think we can, that the no-confidence motion has been validly passed,” he said.
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