“We will consider our decision and depending on that decision we will give a date when the decision will be given,” President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Adrian Saunders said, on Friday, the final day of oral submissions at the CCJ, on the December 21 (2018) vote in Guyana’s National Assembly.
Justice Saunders said “depending on the nature of the decision perhaps on that date we will decide what further submissions we need.”
The CCJ president requested further submissions from GECOM but pointed out that those were not needed immediately. Speaking to GECOM’s Attorney-at-law, Stanley Marcus, as Friday’s session wrapped up, he informed, “We would not want to hear that now.”
When Attorney Marcus informed the Court that he would be out of the jurisdiction until next week, Justice Saunders responded that “we wouldn’t be able to give a decision next week”
In addition to GECOM, it is expected that other parties will provide written submissions to the CCJ. Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes, who is appearing for opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, will respond next Tuesday, to arguments put forth by former Belize Attorney General, Eamon Courtenay SC.
At Friday’s hearing, Senior Counsel, Eamon Courtenay, asked the court to declare Chandras Persaud’s, “unconstitutional vote null and void” … “and that the motion failed,” since Charrandas Persaud is “an imposter, usurper in the meaning of the cases, and the de facto doctrine does not avail him.”
Courtnay argued that Guyana has a “very strong anti-defection provision.” Unlike the constituency system in other Caribbean countries, Courtenay said the anti-defection system was further deepened in 2007 by a constitutional amendment that prohibits crossing of the floor. He added that the anti-defection provision basically tells the Parliamentarians to “remember how you got here”.
Courtenay said tabling of a no-confidence motion was possible only if there is a coalition government and one of the political parties was dissatisfied with broken promises. “Nobody is going to cross the floor. Everybody is going to vote by their list but what is going to happen is that that motion is going to succeed because of the difference in the two parties… but the government cannot remain in power if it does not have the confidence and the loyalty of its partner,” he said.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senior Counsel , Basil Williams, during his final submissions noted that both the government and opposition have chief whips in the parliament of Guyana, “And the whips determine how you vote at a particular sitting in parliament.”
He explained that there was no constitutional provision, but rather a political position on which the chief whip could inform parliamentarians whether they could vote by their conscience.
He gave examples of such instances as cases concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and capital punishment.
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