Cabinet has been meeting despite the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) validation of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion, which specifies that it must resign. According to Vice-Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Dr George Norton, the body is meeting based on guidance from its “legal expert”.

“Cabinet has been meeting. We met last Tuesday…Tomorrow we will meet – as Cabinet,” The Minister of Social Cohesion affirmed.

Quizzed on whether Cabinet meeting goes against the CCJ’s ruling, he responded, “I just want to repeat: [we are meeting based on] our interpretation and with the guidance of our legal expert. The coalition government has no interest – they have never done so before, and will never want to go against the rule of law.”

The CCJ on July 12, 2019, issued consequential declarations and orders in two sets of cases from Guyana. The cases had to do with the appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) and a no-confidence vote passed last December in the Guyana National Assembly.

Regarding the matters concerning the no-confidence motion, the CCJ noted that there is clear guidance in Article 106 of Guyana’s Constitution on what should happen next. The Court stated, “upon the passage of a vote of no confidence, the Article requires the resignation of the Cabinet, including the President. The Article goes on to state, among other things, that notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and that an election shall be held “within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine”.

The Court noted that the filing of the court proceedings in January, challenging the validity of the no-confidence vote, effectively placed matters on pause. The Court reminded, however, that it had rendered its decision on 18 June 2019. As to the precise orders it should make, the CCJ cautioned, however, that it is not, “the role of the Court to establish a date on, or by which, the elections must be held”. Article 106 is clear and it should be followed.

The CCJ did express the view that it is expected that the Government will continue as a caretaker for the affairs of the county but that in light of its caretaker role it should be restrained in the use of its legal authority. President David Granger has already conceded.


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