Attorney General Basil Williams has filed a Notice of Application (NOA) in which he argues that an application made by Opposition-aligned lawyer Anil Nandlall for an order compelling Cabinet, including the President to resign is an abuse of process.
On Monday, August 26, 2019, Nandlall filed a Fixed Date Application (FDA) seeking an order compelling Cabinet, including the President, to resign as a result of the government being defeated by the passage of a No-Confidence Motion in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.
In the alternative, Nandlall is seeking a Conservatory Order or an order restraining the Cabinet, inclusive of the President, from meeting, making decisions as, or performing the functions of Cabinet. Also, in the alternative, the lawyer is asking the court for a Mandatory Order compelling the Cabinet, including the President, to give effect to the resignation of the Cabinet, including the President, which occurred by the provisions set out in Article 106(6) of the Constitution of Guyana. Further, Nandlall is also seeking such further orders as the court deems fit and court costs.
However, the Attorney General, in the NOA, is asking for, “A declaration that the Court should not exercise its jurisdiction to grant the Orders sought in the Fixed Date Application dated the 26th day of August, 2019; an Order striking out the Fixed Date Application dated the 26th day of August, 2019 as being an abuse of the process of the Court; such further and other Orders that the Honourable Court deems just; an order for substantial Costs.”
According to Williams, the Orders being sought by Nandlall is an abuse of the process of the Court an affront to the doctrine of stare decisis or rule of precedent and the Court ought not to grant the orders prayed for as the grant of which Orders would require this Court to make Orders which the CCJ being the highest Court ruled on already.
Williams contends that Nandlall is asking the court to adjudicate on an issue that has already been dealt with by the Caribbean Court of Justice and as a consequence the point is moot and clearly academic and a wanton abuse of the process. Although he acknowledged that Nandlall’s application was made as a matter of public interest, Williams noted that as Attorney General he has a constitutional mandate to protect the public interest.
He contends, “That it is in the Public Interest and a matter of Public Policy that the Fixed Date Application be struck out as being an abuse of the process of the jurisdiction of the Court.”
Meanwhile, in substantiating his request for the Orders, Nandlall said, that on the 21st December 2018, he was present in the National Assembly and voted in support of a No-Confidence Motion, tabled by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, against the current Government of Guyana, which was successfully passed, by a vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly.
He said, “And in consequence thereof, Resolution 101 was issued under the Hand of the Clerk of the National Assembly, certifying that the said No-Confidence Motion was lawfully and properly passed.”
“To this date, nine months after the passage of the No-Confidence Motion, the Cabinet, inclusive of the President, failed and or neglected, and or omitted, to resign in accordance with the unambiguous prescription and mandate of Article 106(6) of the Constitution, the supreme law of Guyana,” Nandlall noted in the FDA.
He pointed out that Article 106 (6), states, “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by a vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly.”
Article 106 (7) adds, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election 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, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”
Nandlall’s application comes up for hearing on Monday, September 9, 2019 before Chief Justice Roxane George.