Gov’t will seek House-approved funds for polls ahead of CCJ decision

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2019, 15:44 by Denis Chabrol

FLASHBACK: Retired Justice James Patterson taking the oath of office before President David Granger as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission. (File photo)

The Guyana Government is expected to table a Financial Paper in the National Assembly to request GYD$3.5 billion to fund General and Regional Elections which may be held after final appeals on the no-confidence motion are heard at the Caribbean Court of Justice.

“We are going to ensure that whatever happens at any level of the judicial system, Guyana is going to be prepared,” President David Granger said Wednesday.

Speaking with reporters after receiving credentials from Botswana and Zambia’s newly-accredited non-resident High Commissioners to Guyana,the Guyanese leader said that following last Friday’s Guyana Court of Appeal (CoA) ruling Cabinet has resumed meetings and a Financial Paper would soon be prepared for the National Assembly.

“We are going to go back to Parliament and make a request to ensure that GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission) has everything it needs. We are committed to having clean elections, credible elections in this country,” he said, adding that he did not know when sittings of the National Assembly would resume.

President Granger had already said he would name a date for general elections in keeping with the framework set out by the Chairman of GECOM for around late November 2019 after house-to-house registration.

Granger was last week poised to name a date, but after the CoA invalidated last December’s no-confidence motion because it did not secure an “absolute majority” of 34 votes, the functions of government returned to normalcy. The High Court had agreed that the motion had been validly passed with 33 votes.

That’s at least for the time being depending on the final decisions by the CCJ which at a Case Management Conference on Friday is expected to set a date for submission of arguments and a date for the rulings.

The State and private citizen Compton Reid lost their Guyana Court of Appeal cases on the points that although Charrandass Persaud is a dual citizen and he did not inform the House Speaker that he had planned to vote against the list of candidates from which he had been selected, his vote was still valid.

The Appeal Court also upheld the High Court’s decision that dual citizens could not constitutionally be a candidate and more so a parliamentarian, but a challenge could have only been brought by way of an elections petition or a constitutional motion. The courts here also agreed that immediately after the passage of a no-confidence motion, the President and the Cabinet stand automatically resigned and the President and government remain in office as caretakers to prepare for an election to be held within 90 days.