“If all they had said was that the government is a caretaker government, that alone would have been good enough for me and the PPP.” So said Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo as he hosted an impromptu press conference this afternoon following the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
There, Jagdeo rubbished interpretations that the CCJ, by refraining from setting a date by which elections should be held, essentially left the ball in the court of the politicians. This is in relations to its ruling today as a consequence of finding the no-confidence motion against the APNU+AFC government to be valid.
While admitting that the CCJ did not set a timeline as the PPP had asked of it, Jagdeo said that the CCJ made it clear that elections should be held within the constitutionally stipulated timeframe.
The politician noted that the CCJ was keen to point out that with the passage of the no-confidence motion, elections should have been held in Guyana since March. He pointed out, too, that the CCJ’s statement to the effect that the “clock” stopped when court proceedings were filed challenging the validity of the motion but that the clock began ticking when the court made the final ruling last month.
Jagdeo said that considering that the CCJ made those observations and that the CCJ asked that all the players abide by the constitution, it is clear to him that the court is saying elections should be held within three months from its ruling which was last month.
Further, Jagdeo said that he recognised that the court chose not to set a date for elections because it wanted to stay true to the doctrine of separation of powers. He said that it is up to the judiciary to interpret the constitution and it did that but left room for the executive to perform its functions as mandated by the constitution.
On the matter concerning the appointment of a GECOM Chairman, the court did not find favour with PPP’s request for it to rule on a tight period by which the new chairman must be appointed by the President.
Instead, the CCJ acknowledged that former Chairman Justice (Retired) James Patterson demitted office on his own will following the ruling that his appointment was unconstitutional.
The CCJ urged that a new chairman be appointed swiftly but did not impose a timeframe.
Jagdeo said that while PPP had asked for a timeframe, he understands that the court is simply trying not to “overreach”.
Jagdeo told the media that the government was “defeated” today.