“Not one thing will happen to the Government if elections are not held in 90 days or if the PPP refuses to go the House to extend the deadline. The Constitution sets out no consequence if this does not happen…”
This opinion was expressed by one of Guyana’s leading Constitutional attorneys, Roysdale Forde. During an interview with this news site, Forde was asked to lend his legal perspective on the debate that after March 19, Guyana heads into unconstitutional territory.
Forde was quick to point out that he does not agree with this view. The lawyer said, “The life of the government does not come to an end after March 19. It just becomes obligated to hold elections…Now the involvement of the Opposition as set out in the Constitution is with respect to holding elections. If it opts to not be part of extending the deadline then nothing happens. Another thing too is that the Constitution does not say that the government must remain in office for the purpose of holding elections.”
He lawyer contends that the government would still be legal after March 19.
His colleague, Attorney-at-Law, Sanjeev holds a dissimilar perspective. According to the lawyer, the Constitution is clear that elections must be held by a certain time following the successful passage of a No-Confidence Motion, and that timeline is 90 days.
He said that their term in office would have expired after that. The lawyer noted however that even after that has happened, its illegal status is another issue. “So the government would exist but it would be illegal for them to take any act as a government,” said Datadin.
The lawyer said, “…There is a fixed set of rules which the Constitution outlines must be followed and we choose to ignore all of them…Because we breached the Constitution, the constitutional crisis arises. They are proffering the excuse however that out of necessity, the government would have to continue but necessity can’t be self inflicted. It is self inflicted due to its refusal to call elections. They know what they should do but they are refusing to do it…”
Datadin also noted that the arguments thus far and the act by the government to appeal the High Court’s ruling is all but a “barefaced and shameful attempt to prolong its time in office and to delay the holding of elections.”
He said, “It is blatantly a delay tactic. Everyone is fully aware of that and they keep hiding behind, this line that ‘We must let the court decide. The court should not have to decide on frivolous arguments being put forward by the government. In any event, it is important to note that there is nothing that could prevent this (elections) from happening…”