Alliance For Change (AFC) defector Charrandass Persaud has, through his lawyers Sanjeev Datadin and others, asked the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to be keen on making consequential orders that are “strict and time stipulated.” This is as it relates to the matters concerning the appointment of a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the validity of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion.
In the written submissions made to the Court yesterday, Datadin said that strict orders are essential in a case where the government continues to employ tactics that can lend to the further delay of elections despite the court’s rulings. From all indications in the written submission seen by Guyana Standard, Datadin is basically asking the court to give the government as little wiggle room as possible given the posture of the administration which is being interpreted as unrelenting efforts to hold on to power.
Datadin brought to the court’s attention that the rulings on the no-confidence matter and the appointment of the GECOM Chairman were initially met by admission of defeat by Attorney General Basil Williams when he admitted in a public statement “the Court knocked us down on every conceivable point”.
Datadin said that regrettably, Williams’ statement was followed by public statements from President David Granger and other ministers for house-to-house registration to take place before elections are called.
Further, Datadin pointed out to the court, “The Counsel on behalf of GECOM told this Court that house-to-house [registration] could be finished on Christmas Day at the earliest and this is the exact opposite of the opinion given to the GECOM Commissioners by the In-House Counsel Ms Excellence Dazzell.”
The attorney-at-law, in asking for strict orders from the court, said, “It is unhelpful for the Court to adjudicate that the Motion of No-Confidence was validly passed on the 21st December 2018 and still allow for transparent and frustrating delays to take place.”
Datadin said that the government is bent on continuing as if there was no motion of No-Confidence and is doing everything to delay the electoral process, aided and abetted by GECOM it seems.
“The Constitution (Art. 106(6)) required elections to be held in 3 (three) months; we are long past that yet the Government’s insists that unwarranted steps be taken which would have the effect of delaying elections further. The political machinery of the State is leading the nation to believe that 200,000 persons are on the voter’s list in error. There is nothing to substantiate these wild assertions but it continues.”
The government originally said, “let the court decide” as a reason for the delay in holding elections as prescribed in the Constitution; the court has decided and the government now says house-to-house first; a transparent attempt to delay elections further.
Datadin also brought to the court’s attention the fact that the government has taken a position that it is entitled to nominate three names of the six to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition to be appointed as Chairman of GECOM.
Datadin opined that that position only illustrates that every conceivable delay mechanism would be employed unless this court is firm and direct.
“This delay at all cost approach will not change. It is humbly submitted the Court must act to protect the rule of law in Guyana. It must not tolerate the delays and system of delays being sought by the Government and GECOM,” Datadin submitted.
The attorney told the court, “Orders that are made must be strict, with time stipulated and this Court must exercise full supervision of its enforcement and implementation. This is the only way to protect the rule of law for the people of Guyana.
The Orders must bring home to the Government they are only a “caretaker government”; and restrict the opportunity for delay.”
Also, Datadin said, “Order of Court should consider that the President has rejected the 18 names submitted to him by the Leader of the Opposition and offered no reasons for his rejection. This Court has stated that reasons must be given. Perhaps, the Court should give the President two days to state whom of the list of 18 he finds unacceptable and he should provide reasons for the names he finds unacceptable. If more than six names remain un-rejected then the President should pick a name from the remaining names. If less than six names remain then the Leader of The Opposition should provide such further names within a day to make six total names. This Court should also adjudicate on the reasons given for the rejection of any names by the President and say if the reasons are unsuitable. Were it otherwise it may continue in a never-ending process of rejection of names for the purpose of delaying elections.”