Attorney General Anil Nandlall has rejected an argument by the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) that Parliament should have already been dissolved in accordance with Article 69 (1) of the Constitution.
In a statement on February 11th 2015, the Bar Association noted that President Donald Ramotar prorogued the National Assembly on November 10, 2014 under Article 70 of the Guyana Constitution. It said that prior to the prorogation, the National Assembly held its last sitting on July 10, 2014 after which it went on its two months recess commencing on August 10, 2014 bringing the session to an end on that date.
It further said that Article 69 (1) states unambiguously:
“Each session of Parliament shall be held at such place within Guyana and shall begin at such time (not being later than six months from the end of the preceding session if Parliament has been prorogued or four months from the end of that session if Parliament has been dissolved) as the President shall appoint by proclamation.”
The GBA said that it would appear therefore that the non-dissolution of Parliament is unconstitutional and unlawful. It should have been done no later than February 10, 2015.
Nandlall in a statement on Tuesday however contended that Article 69(1) only deals with how, when and where Parliament is to be summoned by the President. This summoning of Parliament, he said, can only take place after the end of a prorogation or a dissolution. Parliament, he said, therefore remains lawfully prorogued.
“Needless to say, I wish to assure the members of the Guyana Bar Association that the Executive will continue to act pursuant to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of Guyana and with due adherence to the Rule of Law. Parliament will be dissolved by His Excellency when he deems fit and in compliance with these imperatives”, Nandlall asserted. The AG did not identify which provision of the constitution the government was relying upon to govern dissolution.
Nandlall also took a jab at the GBA for referring in the press release to the dissolution of the National Assembly noting that the association really meant to refer to the dissolution of Parliament.