Caribbean Court of Justice to rule in Guyana case on June 18

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will on Tuesday June 18th, deliver its ruling in the case brought by the Guyana Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, challenging the ruling of the Court of Appeal in his country, that invalidated a motion of no confidence that was passed in the National Assembly in December last year, informed sources said Monday.

The appeal by Jagdeo was among three matters that had been consolidated by the CCJ, the country’s highest and final court, regarding the vote of no confidence.

The other cases, filed by Charrandass Persaud and attorney Christopher Ram, were to determine whether or not a majority of 34 votes were needed to ensure the downfall of the government and should President David Granger and his government have resigned and allow for fresh regional and general elections within 90 days following the vote of no confidence that was passed in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.

When the matters came before the High Court in Guyana in January, it ruled that only 33 votes were required. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeal, the three-member panel by a 2-1 majority held that 34 votes were required.

Persaud, who was then a government legislator voted in support of the motion in the National Assembly, ensuring that the coalition administration lost its one-seat majority in the 65-member legislative body.

The Guyana government had argued in the appeal that Persaud was ineligible to vote because he held dual citizenship.

But, Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes, who is representing Jagdeo, sought to defend Persaud’s right to cast his ballot last December.

“There is nothing in the Constitution that says you must vote in accordance with your list,” Mendes said, adding that there was no evidence before the Court to suggest that Persaud knew he was disqualified on the basis of holding dual citizenship.

However, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, who is representing the Guyana government, dismissed the argument, saying that Persaud had not sworn to any affidavit denying a statement by the private citizen Compton Reid that “at all material times”, the former legislator remained in the Parliament “while knowingly being in allegiance, adherence as a citizen to a foreign power, to wit, Canada”.

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