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Guyana: Mistakes in AG’s appeal delay appeal court hearing on confidence motion

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Attorney General Basil Williams speaks with reporters Wednesday outside the Court of Appeal

(NEWS ROOM) — Mistakes in the appeal by the Attorney General to the Court of Appeal has led to a delay in the hearing of an application to “stay” the implementation of the no confidence motion and put a hold to the 90-day deadline for new general elections.

The Attorney General on February 5th, 2019 filed the appeal to the High Court ruling on the application by Christopher Ram in which the Chief Justice ruled that the Cabinet was immediately disbanded on the passage of the No Confidence motion on December 21.

The appeal by the Attorney General was accompanied by a sworn summons in which he is seeking an order to stay the effect of the Chief Justice’s ruling and a Conservatory Order to preserve the status quo where the Cabinet, President and Government remain in office until this matter is finally determined.

However, that appeal was defective because Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was not properly named as a respondent in the appeal.

The Attorney General’s chambers subsequently re-filed the application on February 15, 2019, but that too was defective because while the Opposition Leader was now properly named as a respondent, the date on the summons was not changed.

As a result, Justice Rishi Persaud informed the Attorney General that he needed to make the necessary correction and have a new summons re-sworn before he could entertain the matter and set a date by which he could accept submissions and make a ruling.

The Attorney General tried to get the judge to accept the February 5 application by simply adding the Leader of the Opposition but the judge ruled that he was not empowered to amend the application to add the name because the rules of the court dictate that a meeting of the full court of three judges was needed to make such an amendment.

The Attorney General undertook to make the corrections and re-file the summons attached to the February 15 application by Thursday.

Once this is done, Justice Persaud undertook to deal with the matter early next week.

The Chief Justice had ruled on January 31, that the Government cannot remain in office beyond 90 days of the passage of the No Confidence motion unless the elections deadline is extended by a vote of two-thirds of the National Assembly.

The President has not invited the Leader of the Opposition to a meeting to discuss an extended date for elections given that the Secretariat of the Guyana Elections Commission determining that it would be impossible to meet the constitutional deadline.

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