Williams, who named House Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo as the respondents, said the Chief Justice “erred and misdirected herself in law” when she ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly passed by an absolute majority of 33 to 32 parliamentarians in keeping with Guyana’s constitution.
The Attorney General also said George-Wiltshire “erred and misdirected herself in law” when she ruled that the House Speaker’s Ruling that the motion of no-confidence was carried by a vote of a majority of all the elected members.
Williams said the Chief Justice’s “decision was unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence.”
He said additional grounds would be filed when the Chief Justice’s written judgement becomes available. Similar grounds were filed in a related case by political commentator, Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram.
The Attorney General has tenaciously held on to an appeal court ruling in Vanuatu in which it was found that the absolute majority of that 52-member Parliament is 27, that is 50 percent (26 seats) plus one additional seat.
However, the Chief Justice in her ruling has pointed out that that precedent case was not applicable because the Vanuatu House is made up of an even number of seats while Guyana’s is uneven. The absolute majority of Guyana’s 65-seat House, she stated, is 33.
The Guyana Constitution also provides for the President and overnment to remain in office until the holding of general elections within 90 days of the passage of a no-confidence motion or at another date to be approved by two-thirds of the National Assembly.
The Chief Justice has refused an application by the Attorney General for a stay of her decision and a conservatory order for the government to remain in office as the clock ticks towards the expiration of the 90 days on March 20, 2019.
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