Western nations urge “all sides” to respect CCJ ruling

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 20:04 by Writer

Key western nations on Tuesday urged Guyanese to respect the judgments on the no-confidence motion and the appointment of the Elections Commission Chairman by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled and it is important that all sides respect that ruling. We also encourage all to come to an agreement on the way forward,” the American, British, Canadian and European Union envoys said in a joint statement.

Lawyers for all sides are next Monday expected to present to the court proposals for consequential orders.

The call by United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Ambassador Jernej Videtič said in a joint statement hours after fresh fissures developed between Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger over the holding of General Elections.

Jagdeo said he now wants General Elections to be held in August or September, 2019. But, Granger, hours after the CCJ ruling, maintained that General Elections would be held in November, 2019 after a new voters’ list is extracted from a fresh house-to-house registration process.

The CCJ on Tuesday ruled that the no-confidence motion was validly passed.

In the other case, the regional court ruled that Elections Commission Chairman James Patterson’s unilateral appointment by President Granger was flawed and unconstitutional because the President did not consult with Jagdeo, introduced new criteria and did not give reasons for rejecting the Opposition Leader’s nominees.

Jagdeo had nominated 18 persons including former GECOM Chairman, Retired Major General Joseph Singh.

Others had included international governance and democracy expert Lawrence Lachmansingh and attorneys-at-law Christopher Ram and Teni Housty.

The CCJ has recommended that the President and Opposition Leader first consult on the six nominees before the latter formally submits the list to the President who will pick one person.

According to the court, that will remove unilateralism if the Opposition Leader participates in the process in good faith.

The President, the court said, needs to give reasons in keeping with the tenets of transparency and openness.