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Bar Association chides President Ramotar for late parliamentary dissolution

The Guyana Bar Association on Saturday charged accused President Donald Ramotar of violating the Constitution by failing to dissolve Parliament on February 10, 2015-exactly three months before the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall has already defended the President’s decision, saying the Constitution provides for dissolution within three months of election day to take account of Nomination Day which is 32 days before polling day.

Following is the statement by the Guyana Bar Association.

President Donald Ramotar prorogued the National Assembly on November 10, 2014 under Article 70 of the Guyana Constitution. Prior to the prorogation, the National Assembly held its last sitting on July 10, 2014 after which it went on its two months recess commencing on August 10, 2014 bringing the session to an end on that date.

The preceding section which the President’s legal advisors have no doubt brought to his attention, Article 69 (1) states unambiguously:

“Each session of Parliament shall be held at such place within Guyana and shall begin at such time (not being later than six months from the end of the preceding session if Parliament has been prorogued or four months from the end of that session if Parliament has been dissolved) as the President shall appoint by proclamation.”

It would appear therefore that the non-dissolution of Parliament is unconstitutional and unlawful. It should have been done no later than February 10, 2015.

The failure to act in accordance with clear Constitutional provisions is a worrying manifestation of casual disregard of the laws by which we are governed. It is more acute when done by the Executive whose mandate it is to uphold those laws.