CCJ says cannot set date for elections

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President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Adrian Saunders

…says appointment of GECOM Chair of upmost urgency

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday said that it is a  matter of greatest public importance that the President and Leader of the Opposition embark upon and conclude discussions on the appointment of a chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission(GECOM).

CCJ President , Justice Adrian Saunders noted while delivering consequential orders in the consolidated cases, that Article 106 of the Constitution of Guyana invests in the President and the National Assembly as well as GECOM, responsibilities that impact on the precise timing of when elections must be held.

He said that ,”it would not be right for the court by the issuance of  coercive orders or detailed directives to presume to instruct these bodies on how they must act”and thereby preempt their mandate.

Justice Saunders said that it is not the role of the court to establish a date on or by which elections must be held or lay down deadlines or timelines that in principle are the preserve of political actors guided by constitutional imperatives.

The CCJ noted that there is clear guidance in Article 106 of Guyana’s Constitution on what should happen next.

The Court stated, “upon the passage of a vote of no confidence, the Article requires the resignation of the Cabinet including the President. The Article goes on to state, among other things, that notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and that an election shall be held “within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine”.

Justice Saunders said that while the main actors decide on the way forward, the David Granger administration would remain in office until elections are held.

The government and opposition are engaged in talks regarding a final a list of persons from which a chair of GECOM will  be selected.

President Granger has made it clear that he would make a proclamation regarding elections as soon as he is given advice by the chairman of the elections commission.