On Tuesday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall filed an appeal with the Trinidad-based CCJ headquarters whicvh indicated that it would be holding a case management conference on Friday.
According to Nandlall “At that conference, of course, we anticipate that the Caribbean Court of Justice will give the requisite directions on how the appeal goes forward.”
Jagdeo’s legal team at the CCJ is being led by Trinidad and Tobago Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes.
By a majority decision last Friday, the Appeals Court struck down Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire’s decision that the no-confidence motion was validly passed by 33 to 32 votes, ruling that an “absolute majority” of 34 votes was required to pass a no-confidence motion.
Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards said the Chief Justice’s calculation of 33 votes was for a “simple majority.”
Quoting several authorities and case precedents, the acting Chancellor said, “applying the principles discussed… I am of the view that the majority, as found by the learned Chief Justice, applies to the case of a simple majority but in relation to the case of an absolute majority, the figure to be arrived at is that of 34 votes. I am of the view too that, applying a purposive approach and the words of the statute being read in their entire context the grammatical and ordinary meaning and the scheme of the act, the object of the act and the intention of the parliament that is consistent with the provisions of article 106(6)… the absolute majority in a 65 seat would lead to 34 votes. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.”
Justice Dawn Gregory explained 34 votes were required after rounding up 32.5 to 33 and adding another vote to acquire an absolute majority of 34. She said using 33 votes was “flawed and untenable and is not the absolute majority.”
In his dissenting decision, the third Court of Appeal judge, Justice Rishi Persaud, agreed with the Chief Justice’s ruling, said the no-confidence motion was validly passed by 33 to 32 votes.
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