GECOM, the major determinant of the date – AG tells CCJ

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC., speaks to the media outside the Court of Appeal today.
DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 24, 2019

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC., today reiterated that President David Granger is prepared to set a date for General and Regional Elections once he is duly advised by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

The Head of State is also awaiting word from Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, on the way forward, following the June 18 ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The Attorney General was addressing the CCJ Panel, led by President Adrian Saunders, from the Appellate Court in Georgetown.

The CCJ met for the post-judgment hearing on consequential orders on two sets of cases from Guyana for which judgments were delivered Tuesday last.

According to the AG, the president is guided by the elections body on its readiness for the polls.

“The President of Guyana is an Executive President. So, if we look at the question of separation of powers, to propose that someone else gives the date for National Elections will collide unfortunately with that,” the AG told the court.

He said if there is no agreement for the two-thirds resolution in the Parliament, then of necessity, the president being given the powers under the Constitution, “should, after consultation with GECOM, dissolve the National Assembly and General and Regional Elections shall be held on a date fixed by the President,”.

The Attorney General reminded that under Guyana’s electoral laws, in order to create a new list of electors and national register of registrants, house-to-house visits must be pursued. He said almost half a billion dollars has already been spent in preparing for House-to- Registration by GECOM.

“The list has to be revised by additions and deletions and has to be done by house-to-house visits.”

The Attorney General reported that the Head of State has already written to the leader of the opposition inviting him to a meeting but is yet to hear from him.

“I can assure you that the president acted forthwith after the Tuesday ruling. He is awaiting the leader of the opposition,” he told the CCJ panel.

He reiterated that the president and government shall remain in office.

“We are a country that has a border controversy. We have a long porous border… and at any moment, a crisis can occur. We are saying that the government and president shall remain.”

Meanwhile, President Saunders requested written submissions from all parties by Monday, July 1. These, he noted, must be no more than 20 pages in length. He said the court will seek to hand down a decision on the submissions on or before July 12, during which time he encouraged that the Head of State and Opposition Leader to meet.

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